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Kremlin dismisses US envoy’s photo display of Syrian attack victims as ‘emotional gesture’

Commenting on Haley’s words about the death of children in Syria, Peskov reminded reporters that preventing such tragedies is exactly what Russia was doing in Syria
US Ambassador Nikki Haley AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
US Ambassador Nikki Haley
© AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

MOSCOW, April 6./TASS/. US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s exhibition of pictures showing Syrian victims of an alleged chemical attack in the Syrian province of Idlib as she addressed a meeting of the UN Security Council might merely be an emotional gesture, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

"Of course, showing pictures can be important evidence for some sort of fact, but it can also be just an emotional gesture and nothing else," the spokesman said. "Different data, not only on paper but even in glass containers has been demonstrated to the UN Security Council, but most often those were just a display of emotion having nothing to do with the actual situation," Peskov said (possibly referring to a tube with traces of alleged Iraqi chemical weapons demonstrated in 2003 by the then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, which came as a pretext for a US intrusion into that country -TASS).

Commenting on Haley’s words about the death of children in Syria, Peskov reminded reporters that preventing such tragedies is exactly what Russia is actively doing in Syria. "Because only by ridding terrorists from Syrian soil can the country bring back calm conditions when children won’t be dying," the Kremlin spokesman stated.

He also said the use of chemical weapons "is absolutely inadmissible". "We believe everything must be done to rule out the possibility of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and of course we can hope that the Syrian armed forces will be taking all necessary measures to see that substances that can be used as chemical weapons won’t get into the hands of terrorists and be used as terrorists," he 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.

Some people who were killed and injured in the recent airstrike in Syria’s Idlib Governorate, were exposed to nerve agents, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Some cases appear to show additional signs consistent with exposure to organophosphorus chemicals, a category of chemicals that includes nerve agents," the statement said. It put the death toll in the attack at least 70.

The Syrian army denied any allegations, saying "it is not using and has not used any chemical weapons."

The Russian defense ministry dismissed these allegations. Later, it said that an 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 shops where militants manufactured munitions containing poisonous agents that were supplied to Iraq and used in Aleppo.