THE UNITED NATIONS, April 5. /TASS/. The policy of former US administration headed by Barack Obama, which warned of military operations in Syria in case chemical weapons attacks were carried out, has pushed terrorists to act this way, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said at Wednesday’s session of the UN Security Council.
"The former US administration’s so-called red lines, which should have triggered a military interference in the internal Syrian conflict if crossed, marked a watershed in the history of toxic chemicals in Syria and followed by full-blown poisonous substances," Safronkov said. "That decision became a pivot for further provocations by terrorist and extremist bodies, with the use of chemical weapons."
The West’s interest in incidents with chemical weapons "unfortunately has a well-defined ideological slant," he added.
"We can say that it is inextricably interwoven with the fabric of anti-Damascus campaign that is still dragging its feet towards the dustbin of history it deserves," he added.
"At the time, our Western partners preferred to keep silent, including over the request from Damascus submitted in March 2013 to investigate the use by militants of the Sarin nerve agent in an attack on Aleppo outskirts," Safronkov said. "We are hopeful it will not be repeated this time."
In the first years of Syria crisis, the US vowed that the use of chemical weapons by Syrian government would become ‘a red line’ for the US to interfere in the conflict. After the chemical weapons attack in eastern Ghouta on 21 August 2013, which the West said the Syrian government forces were responsible for, Washington warned Damascus of strikes. Nevertheless, Russia and the US agreed on an international operation to remove and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons under auspices of the UN and OPCW.
Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that an air strike by Syrian or Russian jets had allegedly killed 58 people, including 11 children, and wounded 300. As Reuters said, the air strike could have been carried out by the Syrian government forces in a suspected gas attack.
The Syrian army denied any allegations, saying "it is not using and has not used any chemical weapons."
The Russian Defense Ministry dismissed these allegations as fake news, saying that "Russian warplanes carried out no strikes in the Khan Shaykhun area, Idlib Governorate."
Later, the ministry said that on Tuesday between 11.30 and 12.30 local time the Syrian aviation carried out an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Shaykhun, targeting a major ammunition storage facility of terrorists and a cluster of military hardware. The territory of this storage facility housed workshops to produce projectiles stuffed with toxic agents, which were supplied to Iraq and had previously been used in Aleppo.
The US, UK and France submitted their draft resolution on that matter to the United Nations Security Council’s emergency meeting.