Ghouta chemical attack
Ghouta chemical attack

Syria’s Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Sussan said Saturday that investigating the chemical weapons allegations in Damascus’ eastern district of Douma will expose the lies of the Western countries.

In an interview with Xinhua, Sussan said it was the Syrian government who invited the inspection experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to look into the allegations about the use of chlorine gas in the battles in Douma on April 7 ahead of the withdrawal of the rebels and their families to northern Syria.

“The Syrian government has declared in its invitation letter (to the OPCW), and after the arrival of the (inspection) team, it will fully cooperate and offer all facilitations for the inspection team to carry out its mission,” he said.

He added that this “will be of a great interest for us because when the investigation team conducts its work it will expose the lies of the Western allegations and the accusations they have made about the alleged attack in Douma.”

The remarks of Sussan come as the OPCW inspection team arrived in Damascus last Saturday afternoon, just hours after the U.S., France and Britain launched a series of missiles strikes on Syrian positions in retaliation for an alleged toxic gas attack on the rebels in Douma on April 7.

The Syrian government has condemned the U.S. strikes while denying carrying out such an attack, saying the militants and their foreign allies were making fabrications to justify a strike on Syria.

The security team of the UN has entered Douma to assess the situation on the ground as the actual entry of the inspectors hasn’t taken place yet.

In a statement on April 18, the OPCW said the UN security team came “under small arms fire” while conducting a reconnaissance work in Douma and went back to Damascus. The team was spotted entering Douma again on Friday, with no details about the actual visit of the inspectors.

In his interview Saturday, the Syrian official said that the decision of visiting Douma by the inspectors is the decision of the OPCW, not the Syrian government, adding that “we respect their justifications.”

“The OPCW team in Damascus has held several meetings with Syrian government, and met with a number of witnesses from inside Douma, including locals, doctors or the medical cadres working in hospitals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sussan slammed the U.S. and its Western allies for overstepping their boundaries by making their allegations and attacks on Syrian positions ahead of the international investigation into the chemical weapons’ allegations.

“If they are saying that chemical (weapons) were used in Ghouta, and if (U.S. President Donald) Trump or France and Britain really wanted to know the truth, they should have provided appropriate conditions for the OPCW to carry out its mission as it’s the organization involved in this matter, and not to encroach upon the work of the international institutions and launch accusations and verdicts and then implement punishments,” he said.

He stressed that the Western countries will not stop making allegations and claims because they want to thwart the work of any organization.

The official, meanwhile, said that the goal behind U.S.-led missile strike ahead of the arrival of the investigation team was to hinder the work of the OPCW mission.

“The U.S.-led strike aimed to hinder the work of the inspection mission and the West wanted that because the work of the mission will expose their lies,” he said, adding that “the Western powers thought that the strike on Syria would push the Syrian government to react by preventing the mission from entering Douma and that this would indicate that the Syrian government won’t cooperate. On the other hand, they thought that by striking Syria they would have covered the lies they had circulated to other Western countries.”

Unlike the Western stance, Sussan said, the Syrian government respects the international legitimacy and the work of international organizations, and promises cooperation with the investigation team.

“Unlike the Western stance, we said and we are still stressing that we respect the international legitimacy and the work of the concerned international organizations and in this context, we have invited the OPCW mission to come to Damascus,” he remarked.

Sussan stressed that the Western countries know very well that when Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013, it gave up all of its chemical stockpiles.

He charged the Western powers over repeated use of this pretext, adding that the U.S.-led Western alliance was attempting to prolong and complicate the Syrian crisis, preventing the situation from getting better. Enditem


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