Damascus calls claims by US, Britain that regime used weapons a ‘barefaced lie,’ blames West for wanting repeat of ‘Iraqi scenario’
Times of Israel
The chemical weapons used by rebels in the Aleppo countryside likely arrived from Turkey, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi charged on Saturday.
Zoubi was quoted in the Syrian state agency SANA saying that the missile which targeted the village of Khan al-Assal near Aleppo in late March was launched not far from the Turkish border, where rebels have a stronghold.
The Syrian government made a request to the UN that the incident be investigated, Zoubi pointed out to the Russian news network Russia Today.
The minister also accused the West of lying about charges that the Assad regime had attacked villages with chemical weapons.
“First of all, I want to confirm that statements by the US Secretary of State and British government are inconsistent with reality and a barefaced lie,” he told Russia Today on Saturday. “I want to stress one more time that Syria would never use it – not only because of its adherence to the international law and rules of leading war, but because of humanitarian and moral issues.”
“Their aim is, first, to cover those who are really behind use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal, and secondly, to repeat Iraq’s scenario, to pave the way for other investigation inspections. To provide, based on their results, maps, photos of rockets and other fabricated materials to the UN, which as we know, opened the way to the occupation of Iraq,” he added.
The charge that the weapons arrived via Turkey came a day after Syrian officials countered that the rebels were the ones who had used them.
The rebels accuse regime forces of firing chemical agents on at least four occasions since December, killing 31 people in the worst of the attacks, and warned that world inaction would only encourage Assad to use them on a larger scale.
Both sides have used the issue to try to sway world opinion.
The Obama administration said that intelligence indicates government forces used the nerve gas sarin in two attacks.
“For the Syrian government to utilize chemical weapons on its people crosses a line that will change my calculus and how the United States approaches these issues,” said President Barack Obama on Friday.