MOSCOW, April 25. /TASS/. Syrian facilities targeted by the strikes of the United States and its allies were not used for storing chemical weapons and the samples taken from there confirm this, chief of the Russian General Staff’s main operations directorate, Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy, told a news briefing.
According to Rudskoy, judging by official statements of representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom and France the major goal of the missile strike was to destroy Syria’s alleged potential of manufacturing toxins and storages of special munitions. This potential was allegedly concentrated in three Syrian facilities, according to the US, the UK and French leadership, he noted.
These facilities include the Barzeh scientific research center in the outskirts of Damascus, and the Him Shinshar underground and aboveground storage facilities in the Homs province.
The Russian specialists took samples from the Barzeh scientific research center. "Their analysis found no presence of toxic chemicals and poisonous substances at the destroyed facility what is confirmed by a respective act," the general said.
The general stressed that no chemical weapons had been stored in the Him Shinshar underground and aboveground facilities.
The US and its allies had a surprising choice of targets for their April 14 missile attack on Syria, Rudskoi noted.
"The US, British and French military and political authorities employed unclear logic while choosing targets for their attack. If they really believed that chemical weapons stockpiles actually existed, then their air strikes would have led to a large-scale contamination and as far as Damascus goes, tens of thousands of people would have been killed," he said.
According to Rudskoi, in any country, chemical weapons facilities are scrupulously protected as they pose a great danger. "However, this cannot be said about the three facilities in question (the Barzeh Research and Development Center on the outskirts of Damascus and the Him Shinshar chemical weapons storage complex). There were only ordinary buildings there. Right after the air strikes, the facilities staff members and onlookers, who did not have any chemical protection equipment, flocked to the sites but no one suffered poisoning," the Russian general stressed.
He added that neither of the three facilities hit by the US-led strikes had stored chemical weapons.
One unexploded Tomahawk cruise missile and one high accuracy air-launched missile the United States and its allies used in their strike in Syria on April 14 have been brought to Moscow, Rudskoy said, adding that Russian military specialists were already studying them.
"Some of the missiles failed to reach the designated targets apparently due to technical failures, which created the risk of destroying civilian facilities and causing civilian casualties. Two of them, a cruise missile Tomahawk and a high-accuracy air-launched missile, have been brought to Moscow. You can see the Tomahawk’s warhead in this slide," General Rudskoy said, adding that Russian specialists were studying them.
"The results of this work will be used to improve Russian weapon systems," he said.
Russian specialists have found the traces of only 22 missiles hitting targets in a US-led strike against Syria out of 105 missiles declared by the American military, according to Rudskoi.
"Russia’s General Staff studied in detail the results of the strikes. The collected missile fragments, the study of craters and the nature of damaged facilities make it possible to conclude that out of 105 declared hits in the area of the targets, no more than 22 were registered," Rudskoi said.
Earlier, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told TASS two cruise missiles, which had failed to explode when the US carried out a strike on Syria on April 14, were spotted by the Syrian military and handed over to Russia on April 17. On April 18, they were airlifted to Moscow.
On April 14, the United States, in coordination with the United Kingdom and France, launched missile strikes on Syria’s military and civilian infrastructure facilities. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Syrian air defenses managed to shoot down 71 out of 103 missiles.
Washington, London and Paris claimed the strikes to be a response to a chemical weapons attack, which had allegedly happened in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7. Reports about the incident had been spread by a number of non-government organizations, including the White Helmets.
The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed those allegations as a bogus story, while Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets were known for spreading fabricated news.
On April 9, officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria visited Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons. On April 10, a decision was made to send OPCW experts to Douma to assess the situation on the ground and collect information about the alleged chemical incident.