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DAMASCUS, August 16. /TASS/. The investigation into the Khan Shaykhun chemical incident, carried out by the Syrian government, has shown that it had been staged by militants, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said at a press conference in Damascus on Wednesday.
"The Syrian government conducted its own investigation into the alleged attack, taking into account the results of probes carried out by foreign government organizations," he said. "It has been established that the so-called Khan Shaykhun incident was staged in accordance with (a previously drawn up) scenario," Mekdad added.
According to him, the United States made the decision to launch a missile attack against Syria’s Shayrat airbase before the alleged chemical weapons incident, while Washington used the staged incident as a pretext, "without bothering to carry out an investigation."
The time of the alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun (the Idlib province) does not coincide with the time when the video about it was shot, he went on.
"In the video (provided by the White Helmets) the victims are washed and taken to an undisclosed location. Judging by elongated shadows, the video was shot no later than 09:30-10:00, that is, a few hours before the alleged attack by Syrian aircraft," Mekdad said.
The Syrian deputy foreign minister also said that traces of sarin gas were detected at the scene of the alleged attack two weeks after the incident had been reported. "In order to make it more convincing, militants added quite a large quantity of sarin gas to the alleged explosion site. This substance was detected during the analysis of soil samples which had been voluntarily provided by Syrian experts to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The presence of sarin gas in the soil samples proves that it was added after the so-called attack," Mekdad noted.
At the same time, he stressed that Syrian intelligence had collected soil samples only two weeks after the alleged chemical incident, "while in hot climates, sarin gas is only capable to linger for no more than five to six hours."
"People’s having respirator masks suggests that the producers of this staging have insufficient knowledge in the sphere of military chemistry. Sarin vapors affect people very well not only through nasopharynx, but also through eyes, that is why these people would have been definitely affected. The footage, however, shows healthy, active and vigorous so-called ‘rescuers’," Mekdad said.
The alleged chemical weapons incident in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun, located in the Idlib Governorate, occurred on April 4, killing more than 80 people. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, on April 4, the Syrian air force delivered airstrikes on several militant facilities where munitions filled with poisonous substances were being made. However, Washington came to the conclusion that Damascus had used chemical weapons which led the US to carry out a missile attack on a Syrian military air base located in the Homs Governorate on April 7, as the US believes that the attack on Khan Shaykhun was launched from there.