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Human Rights Watch damages reputation with report on chemical weapons in Syria — ministry

If HRW would really like to sort out the situation with the use of chemical weapons in Syria, they could start with the use of mustard gas agents by militants, the Russian Defense ministry suggested

MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian troops in Aleppo in 2016 is damaging further its reputation, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said.

"Such reports prepared by laymen with reference to the data of social networks and stories by unknown anonymous witnesses over the phone are destroying further the already ambiguous reputation of Human Rights Watch," the general said.

"If Human Rights Watch would really like to sort out the situation with the use of chemical weapons in Syria, then it would be necessary to start with the use of mustard gas chemical warfare agent by militants in in the community of Maarat Umm Hawsh in September 2016. This crime has real witnesses, including Russian and foreign journalists, real affected persons with concrete names, really discovered munitions with the remains of mustard gas and soil samples," he said.

Russian servicemen of the Center of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection jointly with the Syrian side submitted all the available proof to experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the general said.

"Now it is already February 2017 but it is not even discussed when the OPCW will finish its expert study of the obtained proofs of mustard gas use in Aleppo and identify the country, which transferred it to militants." 

It has to be established with what this is linked: with the pressure of a specific mustard gas producer country or with the slowness of some officials - and this should be the subject of HRW’s special attention, if this is really a human rights organization, the general said.