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Syrian chemical dossier: Russia slams misinformation in OPCW team’s report on alleged Ltamenah incidents in 2017

Syrian chemical dossier: Russia slams misinformation in OPCW team’s report on alleged Ltamenah incidents in 2017

The Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog has released its initial report on the three alleged chemical incidents in the Syrian village of Ltamenah on March 24, 25 and 30 in 2017. The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was difficult to expect anything else from the body, set up by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), after the report said that “there are reasonable grounds to believe” that in all three instances, chemical weapons were used by the Syrian Air Force.

The relevant Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) requires the mandatory dispatch of experts directly to the sites of alleged incidents, the ministry said on Thursday. However, the information gathered by the IIT “mostly came from anti-government armed groups and pseudo-humanitarian NGOs affiliated with them, including the notorious White Helmets.”

The report contains “references to certain secret services data – apparently from the same states obsessed with a change of power in Damascus,” the ministry said, adding that “there is no other word for it but misinformation.” Russian experts will study the IIT’s report, it added, saying that “we have no doubt that numerous international independent experts will do the same.”

The statement also recalled “the scandalous story with the OPCW Technical Secretariat falsifying an investigation report of a high-profile incident in the Syrian city of Douma on April 7, 2018, which turned out to be a staged provocation by the White Helmets.”