Syria chemical probe should consider Turkish MP’s remarks
Russia says an international probe of a 2013 chemical attack in Syria should take into account recent statements by a Turkish lawmaker that Ankara allegedly had a role in shipping gas precursors to the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group for the attack.
The deadly chemical attack, which occurred in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in August 2013, was blamed by certain Western countries on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian government has denied any role in the attack. Damascus agreed to give up its arsenal of chemical weapons as the US used the attack to threaten Syria with military strikes
Turkish MP Eren Erdem of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) recently said Daesh terrorists in Syria were behind the attack, and that they received materials required to produce the deadly sarin gas through Turkey.
Erdem renewed concerns about a possible cover-up of the issue following the sudden termination of a local criminal case in the Turkish city of Adana into illegal shipments.
The Turkish lawmaker said the West deliberately blamed the Syrian government for the deadly chemical attack in Ghouta as part of its effort to justify threats of US military intervention in Syria.
“This specialized mechanism should thoroughly investigate the information provided by the Turkish parliamentarian in accordance with its mandate, and report back to the UN Security Council,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (pictured below) on Friday.
She was referring to the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) mandated by the UN Security Council Resolution 2118, which involves combined efforts by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to identify elements behind the use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2013.
Pointing to Erdem’s effort to shed more light into the muted scandal, Zakharova said there was nothing striking in his revelations
She recalled that in 2013, a number of sources, including Turks, had reported the detention of suspects in deliveries of chemical components and sarin precursors across the Turkish border.
“Then the case, as we understand, was ‘soft-pedaled,’ while the main suspects avoided prosecution and fled into Syria,” Zakharova said.
“So Erdem’s revelations come for us, and not just us, as nothing new.”
The attack in the Damascus suburb, which took place just several months after the botched Turkey investigation, was carried out using chemical agents.
It was an “evident attempt” to build a case again the Syrian military using a “home-made chemical charge” to fabricate “dubious evidence,” said the Russian official.
Zakharova said several “independent Western experts” had also raised doubts on the Western version of press reports on the Ghouta attack.