Russia’s Foreign Ministry has rejected allegations made by the White House that Syria could be preparing a chemical attack, saying the claims would serve as an “invitation” for terrorists and the so called “opposition” to launch a provocation.
“We consider these new insinuations on the issue of weapons of mass destruction in the worst traditions of the 2003 NATO intervention in Iraq to be nothing less than an invitation for terrorists, extremists and armed opposition in Syria to fabricate another mass provocation using chemical weapons,” the ministry said in a statement.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said U.S. claims of new chemical attacks allegedly planned by the Syrian government are unsubstantiated, noting that these claims impede the efforts being made in Astana and Geneva to settle the crisis in Syria.
“These speculations are not backed up by anything. No one is putting forward any facts,” Gatilov said in a statement to Sputnik news agency, adding that it would be unacceptable “if the goal is to aggravate tensions.”
“This complicates the negotiation process, negatively affects the efforts being made in Astana and Geneva,” he said.
Responding to a question about whether Moscow warned Washington against unilateral steps in Syria, Gatilov said that “we have always spoken about this, including with regard to their latest attacks on the Syrian armed forces.”
“There is no threat to U.S. specialists from the Syrian armed forces, therefore these actions are provocative in nature,” he added.
On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed that the U.S. had evidence about preparations for a new chemical attack in Syria, and promised that if it is implemented, the Syrian authorities will “pay a heavy price.”
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.