West using chemical weapons watchdog to justify its aggression – Moscow
Russia has slammed the latest report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which accuses Damascus of carrying out a chemical attack in Douma in 2018.
Alexander Shulgin, Moscow's permanent representative to the OPCW claims the report is a political hit job meant to justify the West’s continued military aggression against the Syrian government.
Speaking to RT, Shulgin vehemently dismissed the report, which was released in late January by the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). Dismissing the IIT as “completely illegitimate,” he claimed the group’s creation was pushed through by the US and its allies in order to undermine the core principles of the OPCW and international law, replacing them with their own “made-up rules.”
The IIT’s report, according to Shulgin, is riddled with inconsistencies and factual gaps, and barely holds together. Furthermore, none of Russia’s or any other country’s “uncomfortable” questions regarding the details of the IIT’s findings were even remotely addressed during an OPCW briefing on the report, the ambassador added.
Shulgin also noted that the report highlighted the double standards currently present within the OPCW. When Russia presented evidence of a chemical attack in Aleppo back in 2016, every minute detail of Moscow’s findings was heavily scrutinized by the organization, he said. However, when it comes to the attack in Douma, OPCW officials seem to turn a blind eye to basic questions such as how and when the evidence was gathered and presented during the investigation.
“For instance, they referred to the fact that some new sample has appeared, provided by a third party. What is this third party? Nothing is said about it. They just say ‘trust us’,” said Shulgin, noting that the sample in question had never been reported on in previous investigations.
“So before, there was no sample, but now, suddenly, it has somehow appeared. Without any explanations,” the ambassador stressed, suggesting its sudden appearance can only be explained by the need for the US, France, and UK to escape international accountability for their aggression against Syria.
The three NATO states launched a series of airstrikes against civilian and military targets in Syria in April 2018 after the so-called ‘White Helmets’ – an NGO operating in rebel-controlled areas of Syria – published a series of videos supposedly showing the aftermath of a chlorine attack on the residents of Douma.
Syria has vehemently denied any responsibility for the incident, and both Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly pointed to evidence, including testimonies from alleged victims, that suggests the incident was staged in order to justify a Western attack.