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Putin says chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Idlib could be a provocation

The Russian president has urged the West to check information about the chemical attack thoroughly

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has named two main versions of the chemical incident in the Syrian province of Idlib.

The versions

"Several versions are possible in this regard. I consider the two of them as the basic versions," Putin said in an interview with Mir interstate television channel.

According to the president, the first version is that "the Syrian aircraft hit an underground workshop [of terrorists] for the production of chemical warfare agents."

"This is quite possible because militants used them extensively and no one disputes that, including, by the way, their use in Iraq against the international coalition and the Iraqi army," Putin said, noting to mention that this was registered "but no one is trying to notice this and there is no one there who is causing an uproar on this issue, although all have agreed that the militants used chemical agents."

"This means that they possess them and, considering that they [chemical agents] are present there, then why can they not be present in Syria? This is one and the same gang," the Russian president said.

"And the second version is that this is simply an orchestrated event, that is, a provocation. This was done on purpose to cause an uproar and create pre-requisites, a pretext for exerting additional pressure on the legitimate Syrian authorities," Putin said.

"Without a check, we do not consider it possible to take any steps aimed against official Syrian authorities," Putin said.

As Putin said, he already presumed earlier that the incident in Idlib was a provocation "but I didn’t say by whom it was organized as several versions are possible."

"But this event has to be thoroughly investigated to give a final answer. There is no other way out. And this is what we are proposing to do," the Russian president said.

Thorough investigation

As the Russian president said, enormous work was previously done on the initiative of Russia and the United States to liquidate chemical weapons possessed by the Syrian authorities.

"And they fulfilled all their work and all of their obligations, as far as we know. And this was confirmed by the relevant specialized organization in the UN. And if any doubts have emerged, this check can be carried out," Putin said.

It is not difficult to carry out this check "with the help of modern equipment, modern systems of analysis and analyzers," the Russian president said.

If some of the official Syrian authorities used them, then powder remainder could not but be left on military hardware and on the territory, Putin said. "Modern equipment will surely record it."

"It is so simple to come to that aerodrome, on which strikes were delivered [by the United States] and from which aircraft allegedly took off with chemical weapons, and check everything there. If our partners are telling us that some civilians came under the Syrian aviation’s strike [in the province of Idlib], then let these civilians admit UN observers, international organizations to the places of these attacks and everything needs to be checked there," the Russian president said.