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Russia submits its proposal to OPCW on extra inspectors in Syria’s Idlib

Russia's foreign minister said Moscow is "very alarmed by the desire of foreign partners in the UN Security Council to make every effort to avoid a fair investigation into this incident"

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Russia has submitted its proposal on involving extra inspectors in the investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, in Syria’s Idlib, at Thursday’s meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

"We are very alarmed by the desire of foreign partners in the UN Security Council to make every effort to avoid a fair investigation into this incident," Lavrov said. "Today, the Executive Council of the OPCW is holding an emergency meeting in The Hague, and we submitted our proposal there on forming such a delegation on the basis of this organization involving extra inspectors," he said.

Lavrov noted that Russia put forward an initiative on such an extended group for investigating reports on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria during the visit of Tillerson to Moscow on April 11-12.

"The situation in Syria was one of the key issues (at the meeting with Tillerson). We, as it seemed to me, gave him rather convincing reasons for launching a special independent investigation based on the bodies created in the UN and the OPCW," he said.

Moscow suggested involving in this effort experts and professionals from Western countries, Russia and countries of the region, he said.

"It seemed to me that Tillerson had a positive view on this idea and promised to work on it," Lavrov said. "We even said that Russia jointly with the US should put forward this initiative. But he was not ready for this."

Reuters reported on April 4, citing the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, that an air strike by Syrian or Russian jets had allegedly killed scores of people, including children, in the town of Khan-Shaykhun. According to the report, the air strike could have been carried out by the Syrian government forces in a suspected gas attack.

The Russian and the Syrian military have rejected their involvement in the attack.

Following an order of US President Donald Trump, the US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from its warships in the Mediterranean on an air base in the Syrian Homs Governorate in early hours of April 7. The missile strike came as a response to the alleged chemical attack in Idlib on April 4 and targeted what Washington claims was a starting location for the attack.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry’s data, the Syrian aircraft hit workshops on April 4 where terrorists were producing munitions with chemical agents supplied to Iraq and used in Aleppo.