As the blame game over the alleged chemical attack in Syria escalates ahead of what is expected to be an imminent, if contained, air strike campaign by the US, UK and/or France against Syria, on Friday morning, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow had “irrefutable evidence” that the attack – which allegedly killed more than 40 people in an April 7 chemical weapons strike on the former rebel outpost of Douma -was staged with the help of a foreign secret service.
“We have irrefutable evidence that this was another staged event, and that the secret services of a certain state that is now at the forefront of a Russophobic campaign was involved in this staged event,” he said during a press conference according to AFP.
Speculation that said “certain state” was the UK was confirmed shortly after, when Russia’s defense ministry alleged that Britain was involved in the suspected chemical attack.
According to Moscow’s defense ministry spokesman Major General Igor, the Kremlin has evidence that Britain was behind the attack. Quoted by Reuters, he said: “We have… evidence that proves Britain was directly involved in organising this provocation.”
Britain and allies France and the US are now inching towards full-scale military action in response to the alleged slaughter by the Assad regime, even as Russia and Syria have vowed to hit back against any provocation as warships and submarines head to the Syrian coast on war-footing.
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On Wednesday, Russia made the first allegation that the chemical attack was staged by Western powers, in this case by the infamoous “white helmets,” a US-funded NGO lauded by mainstream media for their humanitarian work, while long-suspected of performing less-than humanitarian deeds behind the curtain.
Speaking with EuroNews, Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizov, said “Russian military specialists have visited this region, walked on those streets, entered those houses, talked to local doctors and visited the only functioning hospital in Douma, including its basement where reportedly the mountains of corpses pile up. There was not a single corpse and even not a single person who came in for treatment after the attack.”
“But we’ve seen them on the video!” responds EuroNews correspondent Andrei Beketov.
“There was no chemical attack in Douma, pure and simple,” responds Chizov. “We’ve seen another staged event. There are personnel, specifically trained – and you can guess by whom – amongst the so-called White Helmets, who were already caught in the act with staged videos.”
Russia said previously that it sent experts in radiological, chemical and biological warfare – along with medics, in order to inspect the Eastern Ghouta city of Douma where the attack is said to have taken place.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that the experts “found no traces of the use of chemical agents,” following a search of the sites, adding “All these facts show… that no chemical weapons were used in the town of Douma, as it was claimed by the White Helmets.”
“All the accusations brought by the White Helmets, as well as their photos… allegedly showing the victims of the chemical attack, are nothing more than a yet another piece of fake news and an attempt to disrupt the ceasefire,” said the Russian Reconciliation Center.
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In any case, if Russia indeed has “irrefutable evidence”, it is probably just a matter of time before it is made public in an attempt to sway public opinion, ideally before the Syrian airstrikes begin afresh. If confirmed, it would be a major slap in the face of neo-con forces across “western democracies”, if hardly a shock: after all the US using a fabricated pretext to wage war or simply to effect a much needed distraction from domestic affairs, in the middle east is a painfully familiar narrative.
Meanwhile, as we wait for Trump to announce what happens next, late on Thursday we reported that US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary James Mattis are reportedly feuding over the strategy in Syria, with Mattis favoring a more cautious approach, even as France and Britain are crafting broad strike plans and are willing to pursue any military strategy, even though as noted, a readout of a Thursday phone conversation President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May suggests that military action may be days away, instead of hours.
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