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China’s top diplomat says Beijing supports probe into chemical weapons use in Syria

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China is against any operations using chemical weapons and condemns their use

BEIJING, April 13. /TASS/. The Chinese authorities came out in favor of an unbiased probe into the chemical weapons incident in Syria, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday.

"China is against any operations using chemical weapons and condemns their use. We support an investigation against those who are suspected of using such weapons," the top diplomat said.

The foreign minister also said the situation in Syria must be settled in accordance with existing international laws, which includes negotiations within the framework of the UN Security Council.

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 58 people, including 11 children, and wounded 300 individuals. 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 air strike in Syria’s Idlib Governorate, were exposed to nerve agents, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement last 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 at least 70.

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

The US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a military airfield in Syria’s Homs province overnight to April 7 on orders issued by US President Donald Trump. The strike came in response to what Washington claims was Damascus’ use of chemical weapons in the Idlib province.

On Wednesday, Russia blocked a draft resolution at the UN Security Council, which said that Damascus must hand over all data on April 4 flights to the OPCW and provide access to the airbases that could be used to carry out a strike against Khan Sheikhoun.

Speaking after the vote, Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said the passing of the resolution would in fact legitimize the US missile strike carried out in violation of international law. He said Russia is seeking an unbiased probe into the incident in Khan Sheikhoun, while Western countries are afraid a well-established system of manipulations with chemical weapons would be exposed.