Moscow slams US decision to arm Syrian opposition and allegations on chemical weapons
Moscow, (SANA)- Russia stressed that the US’s decision to supply the “Syrian opposition” with arms hinders the efforts to hold the international conference on Syria, considering the U.S. allegations on chemical weapons use by the Syrian government as “fabricated” and “unconvincing”.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned US State Secretary John Kerry that Washington’s decision to arm the Syrian opposition will lead to further escalation in the region.
In a phone call on Friday, Lavrov said that the accusations leveled by the US adminsitraiton against the Syrian government on the use of chemical weapons aren’t based on solid evidence.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the two sides stressed the need for exerting more efforts to realize the Russian-US initiative to hold an international conference on Syria and apply the Geneva communiqué, with Lavrov stressing the need for having a wide representation of all involved sides, including countries and Syrian sides.
Earlier, Russian President’s Assistant, Yuri Ushakov, stressed that the US’s tone on the crisis in Syria, particularly its intention to increase arms supplies to the “Syrian opposition”, does not contribute to the efforts to hold an international conference on Syria.
“Of course, this doesn’t facilitate the preparations for the international conference especially if they did decide and provide greater assistance to the opposition,” Ushakov said in statements to the reporters Friday.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, stressed Wednesday that the West’s attempts to arm the “Syrian opposition” and its leniency towards it hinder the efforts seeking to hold the international conference on Syria due in Geneva.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, warned in an interview with Russia Today channel that the US’s new decision constitutes “a negative factor” that would foil the efforts seeking to find a political solution to the crisis.
Bogdanov however stressed that the Russian side is ready to hold consultations in Geneva on June 25th, as previously agreed with the American partners, to discuss reparations for the international conference on Syria.
He pointed out that many issues depend on the outcomes of the upcoming meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G-8 summit due in Ireland on 28-29 of June.
In this context, the Russian Foreign Ministry called in a statement for continuing work on the preparations for the international conference on Syria that aims to shift the crisis to the course of the political settlement and launch a dialogue between the Syrians in implementation of the Geneva communiqué issued on June 30th of last year.
Chairperson of the Russian Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko, also warned of the dangerous consequences of such move by the US to supply the “Syrian opposition” with weapons.
“This indicates that the situation is reaching a serious level that could lead to dangerous repercussions in terms of the country getting divided and terrorists and extremists taking over,” Matviyenko was quoted by the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency as saying Thursday following talks with British officials in London.
She referred in this context to media reports showing gunmen of the “Syrian opposition” moving around over the dead bodies of people they had killed in villages in Syria.
On her talks with the British officials, Matviyenko pointed out that Russia and Britain have differences over how to solve the crisis in Syria but they share concern over the situation there and are ready to work to facilitate reaching a solution as soon as possible.
Chairman of the Russian Duma Committee on International Affairs, Alexei Pushkov, considered that the US administration’s decision to provide military assistance to the armed terrorist groups in Syria forms a way towards direct U.S. intervention in the crisis in Syria.
In a statement to the Russian Interfax news agency, Pushkov ruled out that further supply of weapons from the US to the “opposition” in Syria would make a radical change in the balance of power on the ground, which has tended over the past period to be in favor of the Syrian state and leadership.
U.S. Accusations on Chemical Weapons Are Fabricated
Commenting on the US’s accusations that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian government, Russian President’s Assistant Ushakov described the information which Washington presented to Moscow on this regard as “unconvincing” and are “difficult to be considered facts”.
Along with the US announcement of its intention to increase support for the armed terrorist groups in Syria and provide more arms to these groups, the White House issued Thursday allegations accusing the Syrian forces of having used chemical weapons.
Ushakov pointed out that a Russian-U.S. meeting was held “during which the US tried to present information to prove that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian government.”
“What the Americans talked about doesn’t seem convincing to Moscow,” he said, adding that the information presented by the Americans “are difficult to be described as facts.”
On this issue, Chairman of the Russian Duma Committee on International Affairs Pushkov stressed it is impossible to trust the U.S. allegations, indicating the absence of evidence that could prove the American accusations.
He added that it is probable that a scenario would be fabricated where the armed terrorist groups in Syria use chemical weapons “so as to evoke international investigation into the incident where the Syrian government would be blamed”.
“I have a feeling that these accusations are premeditated and is related to the desire of some circles in the US to get the approval of the U.S. President Barack Obama to increase involvement,” said Pushkov.
Pushkov, on his Twitter account on Friday, added that the information about the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons has been “fabricated” in a similar fashion as the lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
He warned that Obama is following the same approach that was adopted by his predecessor George W. Bush.
For his part, the Russian foreign ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich said that the information on Damascus use of chemical weapons were not based on corroborated facts, indicating that US, British and French experts did not convince Russia that Damascus did so.
”These reports indicate that US efforts to ensure a proper representation for the opposition in the international conference had hit the buffers,” Lukashevich said.
Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee, Mikhail Margelov said that the US allegations on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian forces are ”unconvincing.”
Speaking to the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency on Friday, Margelov said that Russia is committed to UN-led inquiry into the issue to unveil the perpetrators who used toxic materials and to verify whether it happened or not.
Margelov cited Iraq ”where allegations that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed WMDs proved to be nonsense,” which ”led to an enduring instability in the region.”
Margelov said that the UN should not ”drag its feet on the investigations into the use of chemical weapons in Syria.”
Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky warned that the US is planning to repeat the Iraqi scenario in Syria.
”We will organize a mass gathering outside the US embassy to express support to our government’s actions to shut Syria’s airspace in the face of any missiles or warplanes so that no one can strike Syria,” he added.
Russian Security Council Discusses Situation in Syria in Light of US Latest Stances
The Russian Security Council, headed by President Vladimir Putin, on Friday discussed the situation in Syria in the light of Washington’s latest stances.
Dmitri Peskov, Russian President’s Spokesman, said that members of the Council discussed the situation in Syria in addition to economic and social situation in Russia.
Earlier on Thursday, the White House said that “the Syrian forces have used chemical weapons”, at the same time announcing that Washington will increase the support provided to the armed terrorist groups in Syria and will send more weaponry to them.
Bogdanov Discusses with Syria’s Ambassador in Moscow Situation in Syria, the Region
The Russian President’s Special Representative to the Middle East, Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, discussed with Syria’s Ambassador in Moscow, Riad Haddad, the situation in Syria and the region.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, in a statement on Friday, that the meeting tackled the developments in Syria and the efforts exerted to hold the international conference on Syria.
Haddad stressed that Syria seeks the political solution and wants the international conference to be held, adding that the US and some western countries have been arming the Syria opposition since the beginning of the crisis.
Russia Condemns Hatla Massacre in Deir Ezzor
Russia strongly condemned the terrorist massacre that members of al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra committed in Hatla town in Deir Ezzor, slamming in the same breath some countries’ decisions to offer aid to the ‘Syrian opposition.’
The Russian foreign ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich said ”Despite the efforts exerted according to the US-Russian agreements reached on May 7 in Moscow, terrorism in Syria continues unabated.”
”Furthermore, some powers are intensifying efforts and focusing attention on stoking the armed confrontation and bloody chaos, mounting attacks on civilians…They are adding fuel to the fire,” he added.
”Instigated by a Jihadist figure, rebels from ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’ killed on June 12 sixty civilians, including women and children, from Hatla village, and burned down their houses, before posting the videotape to the internet for sectarian aims.”
”The Syrian government demanded that the UN Security Council condemn the massacre,” he added.
Against this backdrop, Lukashevich described as ”incomprehensible” the stances of some countries regarding the provision of aid to the ‘Syrian opposition’, especially as regards the talk about ”liberated areas.”
”I do not want to believe that liberating lands is done in the same way as Hatla, ” the Russian foreign ministry spokesman added.
”As we express Russia’s strong condemnation of this bloody terrorist massacre, we announce Russia’s unyielding commitment to a peaceful settlement in Syria, and continuing efforts for holding an international conference to that end.”
Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups perpetrated on June 12, 2013 a massacre in Hatla village in Deir Ezzor against scores of citizens, most of them women and children because they refused to support their criminal acts.
Ushakov: No Talk on Freezing S-300 Missiles Contract with Syria
In another context, Russia affirmed that it was not backing on the contract to supply Syria with Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles.
The Russian President’s Assistant stressed that the Kremlin is not thinking of freezing the contract on exporting S-300 missiles to Syria, saying “this is not being discussed.”
“We are seeking to reach a settlement to the Syrian crisis in a constructive way,” said Ushakov.
President Putin reiterated at Russia-EU summit held early this month in the Russian city Yekaterinburg that all the contracts signed with Syria are in line with the international law and that the contract on exporting S-300 missiles was signed several years ago and has not yet been implemented.
Al-Hamwi: UNHRC resolution on human rights in Syria full of lies and fabricated events
Geneva, (SANA) – Syria’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva Fayssal al-Hamwi said that the draft resolution on human rights conditions in Syria discussed at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is biased and full of lies and fabricated events, as it claims that massacres took place in al-Qseir where none took place.
During a session for discussing the aforementioned resolution, al-Hamwi pointed out that the resolution completely disregards the presence of mercenaries and jihadists from over 40 countries, adding that these mercenaries and jihadists are trained, funded and brought into Syria by some of the very countries who are sponsoring the draft resolution.
Syria’s representative said that Syria no longer acknowledges any role of the Arab League, because the League has become a partner in the crisis under the pressure and influence exerted upon it by Qatar.
He stressed that this resolution completely undermines UN General Assembly No. 46/182 which is considered by all countries to be a reference point in the field of humanitarian aid, giving the exclusive right to supervise humanitarian aid to specific country.
Al-Hamwi warned against such blatant hijacking as any country could become subject to it at any time, adding that the fatal mistake committed by the resolution is encouraging the arming of jihadist terrorists.
He wondered if those who shell Lebanese territories, abduct bishops and Lebanese pilgrims, and executive a 14 year-old boy in front of his parents need the support of the UNHRC.
Syria’s representative noted that at the head of the sponsors of this spiteful resolution is Qatar, which is spending billions of dollars on supporting extremists and jihadists and interfering in the internal affairs of several countries, all while it refrains from spending a single dollar on spreading democracy and supporting human rights within its own borders, pointing out that Qatar still has no constitution, parliament, elections or political parties.
Al-Hamwi denounced the US support and promotion for this resolution through pressuring UNHRC member countries, all while the US claims to cooperate with Russian-UN efforts to hold an international conference on Syria to seek a political solution, stressing that this is a shameful and illogical contradiction.
He said that after the international investigation committee said it had evidence of terrorists’ use of Sarin gas, it quickly recanted this statement within a few hours, and therefore Syria and several other countries no longer trust this committee which continues to refuse referring to the role played by Qatar and Turkey in escalating the crisis in Syria.
Al-Hamwi said the resolution constitutes a unilateral colonialist bill of custody targeting a sovereign, independent country, warning that it will have negative repercussions on ongoing international efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria.
He appealed to countries to refrain from supporting this resolution because it sends a message that supports extremism and terrorism, constitutes a serious threat to humanitarian conditions in Syria, and encourages divisions in the Syrian community. However, the UNHRC passed the resolution, in which it condemned the “interference of foreign fighters in Syria” in a clearly biased manner, as the resolution contained an article on “fighters on behalf of the regime” in a clear sign of siding with the armed terrorist groups.
The resolution was opposed by seven countries and approved by 37 countries known for their hostile positions towards the Syrian people.
It should be noted that world intelligence and media reports confirm the presence of thousands of foreign mercenaries fighting alongside the armed groups in Syria, while the German Die Welt newspaper recently said that Syrians compose no more than 5% of the so-called “Free Army” while 95% of it consists of extremists who came to Syria to partake in “jihad” under official support of Arab Gulf countries.
Gatilov holds terrorist groups responsible for Hatla massacre in Deir Ezzor
Moscow, (SANA) – Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov held the armed terrorist groups and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhar al-Nusra responsible for the murder of 60 people in the village of Hatla in Deir Ezzor, calling on mass media and human rights proponents to give proper attention to this massacre.
Via his Twitter feed, Gatilov said that the aforementioned massacre which claimed the lives of 60 people, some of them women and children, was committed by armed groups who are also responsible for displacing Christians from Sednaya.
He said that the recent decisions made by some countries on supporting the Syrian opposition make no sense.
Russia had strongly condemned the bloody massacre which was committed by terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra on Wednesday in the village of Hatla.
Beijing: Political settlement only way out of Syria crisis
BEIJING, (SANA) – China on Friday reiterated that the political settlement is the only way to emerge from the crisis in Syria.
Spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, said that the peaceful solution has shown “positive momentum”, expressing hope that all sides will seize opportunity as to ensure that the international conference on Syria will be held.
She called upon all sides to avoid any acts that could further militarize the crisis in Syria.
On the US accusations on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian forces, Chunying hoped that a just investigation will be carried out by the United Nations Investigation Commission in this regard.
“China firmly opposes the use of chemical weapons by either sides,” she added.
M. Nassr/ M. Ismael