Representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Industry and Trade have held a press briefing in response to a report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on the alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib Governorate, said to have occurred on the 4th of April, 2017.
The alleged attack which led to a US missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat Air Base, has been called a “poorly staged” attack by Russia.
Here are the key points
1. “Victims” appear before alleged attack happened
The Russian investigation into the events surrounding the incident discovered that 57 of the 200 alleged victims of a chemical weapons attack, arrived at hospitals hours before the attack was said to have occurred. In some cases individuals arrived at hospitals over 100km away from the alleged attack site, before any planes were even in the area. This is crucial as the US contends that a Syrian Su-200 jet dropped a chemical bomb on Idlib’s Khan Sheikhoun, thus causing the incident.
Russia has been presented with the original hospital logs of all facilities which saw alleged victims in order to confirm the impossible timing of the scenario.
Earlier, the Russian Defence Ministry also remarked that no one in the Khan Sheikhoun area asked anyone for the antidote required when one is exposed to Sarin gas.
2. Eyes of “victims” inconsistent with exposure to Srain gas
Russian authorities examined the same photographs of alleged victims that the OPCW and United States examined and concluded that the dilated eyes of the victims were medically inconsistent with those which would have been exposed to Sarin gas.
Photos of the eyes of the subjects were included in a detailed slide show, which is embedded below.
3. Crater from bomb blast was from ground based device not a Syrian jet
Russian authorities examined the same videos and forensic photos of a blast crater at Khan Sheikhoun that the US and its allies allege is the point of impact from a chemical bomb dropped from a Syrian jet.
However, Russian forensic experts discovered that due to the shape and nature of the crater, as well as the scattering of shrapnel and other debris, it is certain that the blast occurred due to the exploding of a ground based static object, such as a crudely made bomb.
Russian aerospace experts further concluded that according to the statistics provided by the US, which were considered by the OPCW report, it would be impossible for a Su-200 jet (which is a Soviet made aircraft) to hit the target where the crater was discovered based on the places altitude, speed and flight trajectory. A Russian Aerospace Forces officer said that such allegations “contradict physics”.
Furthermore, if the crater was made by a chemical bomb, there would have been signs of a chemical mixing device which is present in all such chemical weapons. No such artefacts were found by anyone at the blast site.
4. Fake White Helmet first responders were no where near Sarin gas
The well publicised video of first responders made public by the White Helmets organisation, a group with known links to al-Qaeda, was deemed to be totally inauthentic. The video shows White Helmets members surrounding the crater where a Sarin bomb had allegedly just been dropped, not wearing any of the proper protective gear including gloves, body suits and proper respirator masks.
The Russian official describing the event said that those men would all have died nearly instantly, if they were really handling items that were covered in Srain.
The only logical conclusion is that the “rescue” effort was a staged display used for propaganda purposes, in order to frame the Syrian government.
Russian officials blasted the OPCW report for not even considering the obvious fact that the event was staged.
5. Sarin samples were poured into the crater after the alleged attack and staged rescue operation
The only way that any Sarin could have been at the site was for it to be poured into the crater created by an earlier ground blast, manually. The only people with access to the site who could have done this were the terrorist groups in control of Khan Sheikhoun.
6. Flawed methodology in OPCW report
Russian officials called the OPCW report “superficial, amateurish and unprofessional”. Russia remains flabbergasted that no one from the OPCW went to the site of the alleged chemical bombing, even though safe opportunities were afforded, allowing them to do so.
Instead, the investigation was slammed as being conducted remotely from New York, Geneva and locations in Turkey. Furthermore, the so-called “eye witnesses” questioned in Turkey lacked credibility as none could prove they were actually at the site of the incident on the 4th of April, 2017. Russia was also surprised that the OPCW accepted samples from known opposition groups based in Turkey who are at best wholly unreliable scientific sources.
Russia further stated that it was “scandalous” that the OPCW also never visited the Shayrat Air Base, the location from which the US claimed the chemical weapons were loaded into a Syrian jet.
Russia lamented that such conclusions drawn for clear political purposes, resulted in an illegal US bombing of the Shayrat Air Base.
Russia was also critical of the OPCW for failing to provide Syria with any of the samples used in their investigation, as is required under international law.
7. US politicising the entire process
Russia was critical of the US for endorsing and participating in remote investigations which were based on “slogans”, while Russia relied on facts. Russia examined the same evidence as the US and OPCW and reached entirely different conclusions, based on the same set of available evidence items.
A Russian official slammed the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley as someone with no real knowledge of foreign affairs, calling her someone whose experience is only in domestic issues. Because of her inexperience, Haley resorts to “hysteria”, blaming Russia for aiding and abetting the use of chemical weapons, a charge which Russia finds insulting.
While the report itself uses highly inconclusive langue, qualifying most of its findings with words like “possibly and probably”, the US has accepted its own version of events as actual fact while still refusing to visit the actual site of the alleged attack.
The weight of the evidence and the nature of how many first hand accounts were gathered, makes it clear that the event was a staged provocation and that the only groups with any chemical substances at the site of the incident were the terrorist groups that Syria has been fighting.
The US has allowed the OPCW to make a mockery of itself and Russia, as a country which helped to establish the OPCW, is correct in finding this a travesty of justice.