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Russia sees no grounds for new US sanctions against Syria

April 25, 2017, 11:28 UTC+3
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GENEVA, April 25. /TASS/. Moscow believes Washington’s new sanctions against Syria are unfounded as there is no proof that Damascus has used chemical weapons in the Idlib province, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the US sanctioned 271 employees of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center in connection with an alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun earlier this month, the US Department of the Treasury said.

"We don’t see any grounds for this as there aren’t any facts confirming the use of chemical weapons by them," Gatilov said.

Gatilov recalled that Russia has earlier suggested sending an independent group of experts to Syria to check the allegations against the Damascus regime, but the US rejected the proposal. The Russian diplomat stressed that "this is the only way to establish the truth."

The incident in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun, where chemical weapons were allegedly used, occurred on April 4. Russia’s Defense Ministry said on that day Syrian aircraft hit workshops where terrorists were producing munitions containing chemical agents. Washington accused Damascus of using chemical weapons. Following an order by US President Donald Trump, the US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from its warships in the Mediterranean at an air base located in Syria’s Homs Governorate in the early hours of April 7. The missile strike targeted what Washington claimed was the source of the chemical attack.

The Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) earlier did not support the proposal on investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun on April 4 put forward by Russia and Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed during a telephone conversation on April 21 to once again explore the organization’s capability to conduct an impartial probe into the incident.

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