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No Evidence of Chemical Weapons at Sites Bombed by US; President Carter Suggests Attack on Syria "Borders on War Crime"


April 27, 2018
Sputnik News

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has confirmed that there were no chemical weapons at the Barzeh research center in Damascus -- despite the US claims that it bombed the complex because it was used to produce "chemical weapons." Russian officials questioned the logic of bombing facilities believed to house toxic agents. If toxic agents had been stored at the sites the US targeted, tens of thousands of civilians would have died from toxins released by the missile explosions.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201804251063884207-opcw-chemical-weapons-syria-damascus/

OPCW Finds No Chemical Weapons at Syrian Facilities Bombed by US
Sputnik News

MOSCOW (April 25, 2018) -- Last week, the fact-finding mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited a site in the Damascus suburb of Douma to collect samples in connection with the alleged April 7 chemical attack.

Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff Col. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy has announced that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had confirmed that there were no chemical weapons found at the Barzeh research center in Damascus despite the US officials' claims.

The official further noted that thousands of people could have died if there was any chemical weapon on the sites that were attacked by the US-led coalition.

"Immediately after the attacks, many people who worked at these destroyed facilities and just bystanders without any protective equipment visited them. None of them got poisoned with toxic agents," Rudskoy said.

He said the logic of strikes on alleged facilities with toxic agents in Syria was unclear, because if toxic agents had theoretically been stored there, tens of thousands of people would have died after the cruise missile strikes.

On US Airstrikes in Syria
Intelligence data shows that Osa, Kvadrat, Buk, Strela-10, Pantsir and S-125 air defense systems destroyed 46 cruise missiles during the recent US-led strikes on Syria, Rudskoy said, adding that only 13 of 76 reported Western airstrikes hit targets near the Barzah research center in Syria.

"Obtained intelligence data, objective control from air defense systems, work on the ground and the questioning of witnesses show that Pantsir, Osa, Strela-10, Buk, Kvadrat and S-125 . . . destroyed 46 cruise missiles [in Syria]," Rudskoy said.

According to Rudskoy, most of the precision weapons were destroyed by the Soviet-era air defense systems developed 40 years ago, with S-125, Osa and Kvadrat among them.

According to the military official, Russian specialists are examining missiles of the US-led coalition, including Tomahawk, which were captured in Syria to improve Russian weapons.

"Two [missiles] including Tomahawk cruise missile and a high-precision aviation missile were delivered to Moscow . . . . They are now being examined by our experts. The results of this work will be used to improve Russian weapons," he told a briefing.

At the same time, air defense expert of the Russian Defense Ministry Sergei Beznogih said that the Russian General Staff showed remains of cruise missiles downed by Syrian air defense systems to journalists.

"Elements of the sea-based US-made Tomahawk [missiles] and air-based UK-made and French-made SCALP and Storm Shadow [missiles] were displayed," Beznogih said.

Meanwhile, Col. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy noted that only seven western missiles struck the Syrian Han Shinshar facility, which allegedly housed chemical weapons, not 22 as the Pentagon claims.

The senior official stressed that chemical weapons were never developed or stored in Han Shinshar, located in the province of Homs, adding that the storage was struck twice, not seven times, as the US side claims.

"According to the statements of the Pentagon's representatives, 22 missiles hit the above-ground facilities. We registered no more than seven hits, which is shown in the space image," he told a briefing.

Speaking further, Rudskoy noted that expensive "smart" US missiles only hit outbuildings in Syria, which had nothing to do with the army.

"The expensive and so-called 'smart' missiles inflicted the greatest damage on outbuildings, which had nothing to do with military activity," he told a briefing.

At the same time, according to the senior military official, Russia will supply new air defense systems to Syria in the near future.

"Russian specialists will continue training Syrian military personnel, and will assist in mastering new air defense systems, which will be supplied in the near future," Rudskoy said.

Earlier, reports have emerged about an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, published by an online Syrian opposition news portals on April 7, claiming that a chemical attack took place in Syria in the city of Douma near Damascus.

Reacting to the reports, the United States and the European Union said the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad was behind the attack. Moscow has called the news reports about the attack "hoaxes" and warned against military attacks against Syrian areas where Russian troops are deployed.

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria representatives inspected the location of the alleged attack and questioned local doctors, who said that they had not received individuals with symptoms of any chemical poisoning.

However, despite the lack of evidence, the US, alongside France and the UK, launched a massive missile attack against Syria on April 14 in response to the alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma.



'Bordering on War Crimes':
Jimmy Carter Takes Aim at US Foreign Policy

Sputnik News

(April 25, 2018) -- Former US President Jimmy Carter has said that US military strikes in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen often result in high civilian casualties and has given Donald Trump advice on the upcoming talks with North Korean chief Kim Jong-un.

In an interview with The New York Times, Carter, who had earlier said American drone strikes in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen often result in high civilian casualties, was asked whether he thinks this "contradicts our claim to be a peaceful nation devoted to human rights."

"I think sometimes we have bordered on committing war crimes. I don't think that we adhere to a just approach to war, where we are supposed to make armed conflict a last resort and limit our damage to other people to a minimum," the ex-president noted.

"I think our country is known around the world as perhaps the most warlike major country there is. China hasn't been at war with anybody since 1979," he added.
When asked about who was the greater threat to the US: the Soviet Union during the Cold War years, or Russia now, the 39th President of the United States said that the Soviet Union then was more of a threat.

"Both Brezhnev and I, when in office, faced the immediate prospect of a conflagration that would deteriorate into a nuclear exchange," Carter said.

Advice for Trump Ahead of Meeting Kim
Jimmy Carter, who previously met with North Korean leaders, was also asked about the advice he could give Donald Trump ahead of his planned meeting with Kim Jong-un.

"I've shared my advice with Trump's national security adviser. The North Koreans want a binding agreement that the United States will not attack them so long as they stay at peace with their neighbors and with other countries. If they can get that and the insurance and proof of it, then I think that they might very well give up that nuclear program," Carter said.

He declined to forecast the outcome of the US-North Korean summit.

"They're both apparently kind of brash people who speak off the cuff without careful consideration or without adequate advice from their own responsible associates," Jimmy Carter noted.

James Earl Carter served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. He has remained active in public life during his post-presidential years, and in 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


Moscow Ready to Accept Results of OPCW's
'Qualified' Probe into Douma Incident

Sputnik News

MOSCOW (April 23, 2018) -- Russia does not consider it necessary to take part in the chemical weapons investigation in the Syrian city of Douma; Moscow's task is to help provide working conditions for the OPCW experts, Vladimir Ermakov, the director of the department of nonproliferation and arms control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said.

Russia will be ready to accept the results of the OPCW investigation in the Syrian city of Douma, if it is conducted in a qualified manner, Vladimir Ermakov said.

"And why should Moscow participate in this investigation? It is conducted by qualified experts of the OPCW. Russia's task is to provide them with working conditions if possible," Vladimir Ermakov told Sputnik.

"They are under pressure because the United States made the decision in advance that (Syrian President Bashar Assad) should be removed," Ermakov added.

According to him, this decision was made in 2011, when the US announced that they would begin military operations against Assad if he used chemical weapons.

"They are all driven by this decision, which was taken in 2011. They need a provocation using chemical weapons, then they start airstrikes. It already [happened] twice. Last year after the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun. And now in Douma," he added.

Earlier, reports have emerged about an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, published by an online Syrian opposition news portals on April 7, claiming that a chemical attack took place in Syria in the city of Douma near Damascus.

Reacting to the reports, the United States and the European Union said the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad was behind the attack.

Moscow has called the news reports about the attack "hoaxes" and warned against military attacks against Syrian areas where Russian troops are deployed. The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria representatives inspected the location of the alleged attack and questioned local doctors, who said that they had not received individuals with symptoms of any chemical poisoning.

The Issue of Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Moscow will consider the possibility of extending the START treaty only after the United States has fulfilled all its obligations under the existing treaty, the director of Russian Foreign Ministry's department for nonproliferation and arms control, Vladimir Ermakov, told Sputnik on Monday.

"It would be possible to talk about the possibility of extending the START Treaty for another five years only when the US fulfills its obligations under the existing treaty. At present, the Americans are not doing that," Ermakov said.

Ermakov went on to say that the development of new Russian weapons is a normal process; Russia was forced to respond to the aggravating global situation.

"Russia does not threaten anyone with anything. The development of arsenals is a normal process for an ordinary state. We were forced to react to the aggravation of the situation in the world," he added.

He said the US actions threaten the integrity of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

"What really threatens the NPT and many other agreements is the Americans' stubborn unwillingness to comply with articles 1 and 2 [of NPT] and the continuation of so-called nuclear sharing, when the United States actually forces non-nuclear NATO states to participate in training to practice nuclear strikes on Russia."

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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