Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the West seeks to prevent any impartial investigation into the recent suspected chemical attack in the country as any such probe will reveal that the incident was just another “false flag” scenario.
“We formally sent a letter to the United Nations. We asked them in that letter to send a delegation in order to investigate what happened in Khan Shaykhun,” Assad said in a Thursday interview with the Russian Sputnik news agency.
“Of course till this moment they did not send [a response], because the West and the United States blocked any delegation from coming, because if they come, they will find that all their narratives about what happened in Khan Shaykhun and then the attack on Shayrat airport was a false flag, was a lie,” Assad stressed.
Over 80 people died in the April 4 purported gas attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib Province, which the Western countries blamed on the Syrian government.
Using the incident as a pretext, US warships fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea at the Shayrat airfield in Syria’s central province of Homs on April 7. US officials claimed that the suspected Khan Shaykhun gas attack had been launched from the military site.
Assad described the chemical incident as “a false flag play just to justify the attack on the Shayrat base.”
He noted that the Syrian army launched an attack in Idlib Province on April 4 at 11:30 a.m. local time, while the suspected chemical incident is reported to have happened at 6:30 a.m.
“We did not launch any attack at that time,” Assad pointed out.
Assad cast doubt on the authenticity of the images and videos attributed to the scene of the suspected chemical incident in Khan Shaykhun.
“Even if you look at the pictures, you can see that the rescuers — presumable rescuers — were rescuing people without masks, without gloves, and they were moving freely. How? This is against all the specifications of the sarin gas that they talked about,” Assad said.
A man carries the body of a dead child, after a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun, Idlib Province, Syria, April 4, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
“You can fake this image, it is very easy. So, you cannot just base your judgment on images and videos, especially made by al-Qaeda,” he added.
‘West against full-fledged probe’
On Thursday, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, Mikhail Ulyanov, lashed out at the US and the West over their efforts to prevent an impartial probe into the Khan Shaykhun incident.
Ulyanov made the remarks after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) voted against a proposal by Iran and Russia for a probe into the incident.
“Frankly speaking, we expected exactly this result,” he said.
“The conclusion is one — for us this behavior of Western colleagues is tantamount to the acknowledgment that they understand [that] the Syrians did not use chemical weapons. So, their main task is to hinder… a full-fledged investigation, as it can reveal the truth, which would be extremely unpleasant for them,” Ulyanov said.
Iran and Russia’s call for disarming terrorist groups in Syria comes as the Daesh Takfiri terror group has launched several chemical attacks in Syria over the past years.
The Syrian government turned over its entire chemical stockpile under a deal negotiated by Russia and the United States back in 2013.
The Syrian stockpile of chemical weapons was surrendered in a joint mission comprising representatives of the UN and the OPCW in 2014.