‘It’d be illogical for Syrian government to use chemical weapons on Khan Shaykhun’

The Syrian government didn’t have a motive to direct a chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun at the time. It was already making major advances in various parts of the country, says Jamal Wakeem, a professor at the Lebanese University in Beirut.

A leaked report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the use of sarin gas in a deadly incident on 4 April in the Idlib province of Syria where 80 people were killed. The report places the blame for the attack on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

The report was conducted by the Joint Investigation Mission (JIM) which says it “is confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Shaykhun,” AP and AFP reported.

After the incident, the US launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea at the Syrian government's Shayrat airbase. The strike was ordered by US President Donald Trump as a retaliatory response to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack.

The UN chemical weapons' watchdog pointedly accuses the Syrian government of the deadly chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017. A leaked quote from the report says the “panel is confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for” the gas attack.

RT: What is your reaction to this report

Jamal Wakeem: I believe this report is fabricated and it is based on false data that was collected by a third party and not by the UN commissioners themselves because they were located in Turkey and it was terrorist groups that were active in the northern parts of Syria who collected this data and transmitted it to the commissioners. That is why I believe that facts were distorted and this UN Commission relied on distorted facts. The reason why they are doing this is because the US wants to have a pretext to exert pressure on the Syrian government and its supporters, mainly the Russians and the Iranians, but mainly the Russians and the UN [Security] Council in order to mount their political pressure especially at the time when the Syrian Army is achieving more and more successes in the northern and eastern parts of the country. And at the same time, to take it as a pretext in case the US wants to direct a military attack against the Syrian Army in order to ward it off and obstruct it from achieving more and more successes.

RT: What motive could the Syrian government have for carrying out an attack like this?

JW: I don’t believe the Syrian government had any motive to direct a chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun at the time when it was already achieving major advances in various parts of the country, on various fronts. That is why it would be illogical for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons which it didn’t have, based on the American report. Because we already know the chemical arsenal of the Syrian government and the Syrian Army was already destroyed during the days of Obama by the American navy in 2014 based on a deal between the Americans and the Russians. So, how all of a sudden the Syrians got chemical weapons to use them in Khan Shaykhun? I believe this is all forged by pro-Western and pro-American groups in order to give the Americans a pretext to attack Syria.

RT: What sort of reaction, do you think, we will get from the US given they actually bombed a Syrian airfield after this gas attack took place?

JW: I believe the Russians and the Syrians are firm to refuse such claims and the Russians have already acted in the UN Council when they refused to renew the mandate of the investigative commission. As for the US, I believe that they are mounting their pressure, they want to direct an attack against Syria because they already failed on various fronts in the Middle East and they have their influence retreating both in Syria and Iraq.