Alwaght- The United States and its allies are trying to force the OPCW to level accusations against Syria even though there is no solid evidence of its culpability in alleged chemical incidents in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
“The initiators of the missile strike [against Syrian government targets in April] attempt to force the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] to bring any accusations [against] Damascus,” even though pinning the blame is actually beyond the scope of the international chemical weapons watchdog’s jurisdiction, the ministry said in a statement.
The ultimate goal of the US and its allies is to turn the OPCW into a “US-controlled manipulation instrument [used] to exert political pressure on Syria,” the Defense Ministry said. The US, the UK and France particularly try to do that to retroactively justify their strikes against the Syrian military and civilian facilities, it added.
If they succeed, those accusations will be used as a pretext for granting the OPCW fact-finding mission in Syria new authority, which would involve holding any party to the conflict responsible for any chemical incident.
These plans are nothing but an attempt to turn the OPCW fact-finding mission into a substitute for the “discredited” Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), the ministry said. The US previously repeatedly attempted to “resurrect” the JIM, whose mandate had expired in November 2017. Moscow has repeatedly criticized the JIM investigation into last April's Khan Sheikhoun incident as "unprofessional."
One of the major flaws of the probe, as pointed out by Russia, was that the whole investigation was conducted remotely. It further noted that the latest report of the OPCW fact-finding mission on the February incident that allegedly took place in the Syrian province of Idlib is already “deeply puzzling.”