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Journalists put pressure on Syrians who tell truth about chemical attacks — diplomat

April 30, 4:49 UTC+3 MOSCOW

During the April 26 media conference in The Hague, an ITV correspondent asked the Syrians how much they were paid for taking part

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Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

MOSCOW, April 30. /TASS/. Syrian witnesses, who testified last week in The Hague that the alleged poison gas attack in Douma was a setup, were subjected to pressure from journalists, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.

In an interview with the Voskresny Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym (Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov) program on the Rossiya-1 television channel, Zakharova said that during the April 26 media conference in The Hague, an ITV correspondent asked the Syrians how much they were paid for taking part, while a BBC reporter suggested that the visit to The Hague could inflict a "psychological trauma" on one of the eyewitnesses, a 12-year-old Syrian boy.

"Journalists, who have been exploiting the theory of democracy <…> and children’s images for many years, are now asking a boy whether he was psychologically traumatized by the journey to The Hague… I’ve found the names of those reporters, not only from the UK, but from The Netherlands as well," she said. "During our next briefing I will show you the names of those reporters and we will reconstruct the true picture of how they mistreated those Syrians."

"I would like to ask those UK reporters: when they called for the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa in their reports six or seven years ago, have they ever thought of how traumatizing those events may be for children who were unborn at that moment?" she added.

A number of NGOs, including The White Helmets, have been claiming that chemical weapons were used in Syria’s Douma on April 7. Specialists from the Russian center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties explored Douma on April 9 to find nothing that might look like traces of a chemical attack. The next day the OPCW made a decision to dispatch its specialists to Syria to look into the rumored use of chemical weapons.

OPCW inspectors arrived in Damascus on April 14. Several hours before that the United States, Britain and France used the rumors of the incident as a pretext to deal a massive air strike on Syria without approval from the UN Security Council. The Russian Foreign Ministry said a research center in Damascus, the headquarters of the republican guard, an air defense base, and several airdromes and military warehouses were among the targets. The Russian Defense Ministry said the attack lasted from 03:42 to 05:10 local time. Of the 103 missiles that attacked Syria the country’s air defense shot down 71. Three local civilians were injured.

On Thursday, Russia’s and Syria’s missions to the OPCW organized a briefing for the organization’s members on the alleged chemical attack. Moscow and Damascus brought to The Hague, where the OPCW has its office, seventeen witnesses from Douma, including medics from the local hospital, who testified the rumored chemical attack was a fake.

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