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Putin's spokesman warns Idlib tragedy may be exploited by terrorists

The Kremlin spokesman has urged to refrain from hasty conclusions regarding the Idlib attack
Experts evacuate a victim of a suspected chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian city of Idlib, at a local hospital in Reyhanli, Turkey DHA-Depo Photos via AP
Experts evacuate a victim of a suspected chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian city of Idlib, at a local hospital in Reyhanli, Turkey
© DHA-Depo Photos via AP

MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. The tragedy in the Syrian province of Idlib related to the alleged use of chemical weapons may be exploited by terrorists and those who are trying to delegitimize the Syrian authorities, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

"No doubt, forces exist that are pushing for de-legitimization of the lawful leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic. And there exist the forces of terrorism and those who support terrorists," the presidential spokesman said in reply to a question about who, in his opinion, stood to gain from exploiting the situation with the alleged use of chemical weapons.

Russia considers the use of chemical weapons absolutely inadmissible and expects the Syrian army to prevent terrorists from obtaining these munitions, Peskov stressed: 

"We believe every effort should be made to rule out the use of chemical weapons in Syria and, of course, we hope the Syrian armed forces will take all the necessary steps to prevent terrorists from getting and using chemical weapons."

The Idlib tragedy  

Any hasty conclusions on the alleged use of chamecial weapons in Syria’s Idlib will be premature until a proper investigation is completed and the involved sides exchange all the necessary information. 

"This [incident in Idlib province] is a rather dangerous turn of events. It is very dangerous, indeed, and a terrible crime. But at the same time we believe it would be wrong to hurry with labelling. We disagree with the comments being made, because immediately after the tragedy nobody had access to that area and nobody could have realistic and verified information. None of the claims by the US or other countries had impartial evidence or testimonies to rely on," he told the media.

According to Peskov, the possible establishment of an international commission to investigate the incident is a purely technical issue.

"The main idea is to refrain from hasty conclusions," Peskov told journalists. "We need information exchange, to verify the facts and to draw conclusions only after that, but not before."

"Any conclusion drawn before such exchange of information would be certainly viewed as a conclusion, which does not reflect the reality," Putin’s spokesman added.

Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that an air strike by Syrian or Russian jets had allegedly killed 58 people, including 11 children, and wounded 300. As Reuters said, the air strike could have been carried out by the Syrian government forces in a suspected gas attack.

In turn, the World Health Organization cited partner organizations working in Idlib to say that at least 70 people died and hundreds were hurt in the attack.

The Russian and Syrian militaries denied their involvement in the incident.

The Russian defense ministry later said that the air strike on Khan Sheikhun’s eastern suburbs had been delivered by Syrian warplanes in the afternoon of April 4. According to its data, the strikes targeted workshops where militants made munitions with poisonous agents that were supplied to Iraq and used in Aleppo.