UN, September 6. /TASS/. The United States should disclose the list of its possible targets in Syria if they believe that chemical weapons are being stored there, Russia’s UN envoy, Vasily Nebenzya, told the UN Security Council session on Syria on Thursday.
"Reveal the list of targets, which, as was reported, the Pentagon has chosen for a possible airstrike by the three nations," he said. "If you believe that those locations are related to the storage of chemical weapons, then show some respect to the international law and forward this information to the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons - TASS]."
Russia’s UN envoy compared the allegations of a chemical attack being planned in Idlib, to Agatha Christie’s 1950 detective story, A Murder is Announced.
"The Syrian government’s alleged intention to use chemical agents in Idlib is being portrayed as an accomplished fact," the Russian diplomat told a UN Security Council session on Syria. "It reminds me of Agatha Christie’s ‘A Murder is Announced,’ when an upcoming murder, including its time and location, was announced in a newspaper."
"Present-day foretellers don’t bother explaining why would Damascus use toxic gases against civilians, in a situation when Syria has already been bombed twice," he said. "Damascus has no chemical weapons and there are no plans of using it."
"We treat those warnings as an invitation to terrorists to carry out another staged chemical attack and accuse the Syrian government of it. The Syrian authorities have no need to do this, but it would be very useful for terrorists, who see this as a way to provoke aggression against Damascus," the Russian diplomat added.
Idlib is the only Syrian province still controlled by illegal armed groups. In 2017, a de-escalation zone was established in the region, where militants reluctant to lay down their arms can move together with their families. According to United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, Idlib currently hosts about 10,000 militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda terror groups (both outlawed in Russia). Russia expects the United States to facilitate the separation of opposition members from terrorists in the Idlib province but it has not happened yet.
According to earlier reports, terrorists active in Idlib are making preparations for staging a chemical weapons attack that could be blamed on Damascus, providing the West with an excuse for another aggression against Syria. Reports proving these plans say that the United States has been increasing the number of cruise missiles deployed to the Middle East. Washington denied those reports.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that barrels of chlorine and munitions had been delivered to Idlib, while members of the White Helmets, which had been involved in the staged chemical weapons incident in the Syrian town of Douma in April, were getting their cameras ready.
CNN earlier reported that US military and intelligence experts have prepared a preliminary list of targets for the US airstrike, if US President Donald Trump orders it. According to CNN, US forces in the region can promptly respond to any chemical incident.