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Russia expects US to provide evidence of chemical weapons use by Syria

April 07, 2017, 13:47 UTC+3

Russia's Defense Ministry spokesman recalled that the Syrian government fully eliminated chemical weapons

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World Health Organization experts work in a hospital in Adana, Turkey

World Health Organization experts work in a hospital in Adana, Turkey

© DHA-Depo Photos via AP

MOSCOW, April 7. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry expects the Pentagon to provide evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun (Idlib province) by the Syrian army, the ministry’s spokesman, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, told a press briefing in Moscow on Friday.

"We are awaiting explanations from the US on the availability of what they call unquestionable evidence proving that chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun were used by the Syrian army," he said, adding that the Russian Defense Ministry had already denied the use of chemical weapons by Syrian troops.

"All accusations against Damascus on the alleged violations of the Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons put forward by the US to justify the strike are groundless," he emphasized.

Konashenkov recalled that the Syrian government fully eliminated chemical weapons, their means of delivery and all production facilities from 2013 to 2016. "All stockpiles were destroyed, and the available components for the production of chemical weapons were removed from Syria and destroyed at enterprises in the US, Finland, the UK and Germany," he said.

Attack on Syria

The US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a military airfield in Syria’s Homs province overnight to Friday under instructions issued by President Donald Trump. The strike came in response to what Washington believes was the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons in the Idlib province. The Pentagon said the alleged chemical attack was launched from this airfield.

On April 4, Reuters cited the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying that an airstrike on Syrian’s town of Khan Sheikhoun, in the Idlib province, had killed 58 people, including 11 children. Reuters alleged that the chemical attack could have been carried out by "Syrian government or Russian jets."

The World Health Organization said in a statement that "at least 70 people have died and hundreds more have been affected."

The Russian and Syrian militaries denied their involvement in the attack. Russia’s Defense Ministry later said that on April 4, the Syrian air force had delivered an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun to destroy militant facilities used to produce chemical bombs. These bombs were sent to Iraq and were also used in Aleppo.

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