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Damascus rejects OPCW conclusions on chemical weapons use in Syria’s Ltamenah

The Syrian Foreign Ministry drew attention to the fact that fabricated accusations against Syria were also featured in last year’s OPCW expert report on the investigation into chemical weapons use in Douma in 2018

TASS, April 9. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has condemned the report compiled by the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on alleged use of combat chemical weapons by the Syrian armed forces on the town of Ltamenah in March 2017, the ministry said in a statement published on Thursday and quoted as saying by SANA news agency.

"The conclusions cited in this report were fabricated and are aimed at putting forth false accusations against the Syrian government," the ministry stressed.

The statement also noted that the report authors are using testimony provided by the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group and the White Helmets non-governmental organization linked to it. "This is ordered by the United States, Turkey and certain western states," the Syrian ministry claimed.

The statement also underscores that Syria decisively rejects the report of the OPCW experts and denies that use of poisonous gases against civilians of Ltamenah situated in the Homs Province. Damascus drew attention to the fact that fabricated accusations against Syria were also featured in last year’s OPCW expert report on the investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria’s Douma in 2018. "All these works of fiction will not force Syria to renounce its legitimate right to continue fighting terrorist groups," the document concluded.

On Wednesday, the IIT published its first report, assigning the responsibility to the Syrian authorities for three incidents with alleged use of sarin and chlorine in the town of Ltamenah, Homs Province, in March 2017. The OPCW version of events says that in two of these incidents, on March 24 and 30, Syrian military jets dropped aerial bombs containing sarin, injuring at least 16 people in the first attack and at least 60 in the second. Moreover, the report adds that on March 25 a Syrian Air Force helicopter dropped a cylinder containing chlorine on a hospital in Ltamenah to injure at least 30 people. IIT Coordinator Santiago Onate-Laborde claimed, "Attacks of such a strategic nature would have only taken place on the basis of orders from the higher authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic military command."

The Russian permanent mission to the OPCW already reacted to the publication, slamming it as not very trustworthy and compiled with flaws.

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