Moscow, SANA – Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department Mikhail Ulyanov affirmed on Thursday that the United States desperately prevents international personnel from visiting al-Shayrat air base in Syria’s Homs to investigate the Khan Sheikhoun alleged chemical weapons attack despite the Syrian government’s invitation and its willingness to guarantee the safety of the trip.
He stressed in an exclusive interview with Novosti news agency that the recent allegations by the United States that it has intelligence information about dropping a sarin bomb near Khan Sheikhoun raise serious doubts.
“The US version regarding an aerial bomb being dropped from a Syrian air force plane raises serious doubts,” Ulyanov said in the interview.
“Elementary logic suggests that Washington should have insisted on an urgent visit to Shayrat by the UN and OPCW specialists in order to incriminate Damascus on an international level of violating the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” he noted, adding that the United States attacked the site three days after the April 4 chemical incident.
“But no, the United States desperately prevents international personnel from visiting the air base despite the Syrian government’s invitation and its willingness to guarantee the safety of the trip,” he said.
Commenting on footage allegedly filmed by the opposition at the site of the April 4 incident in Idleb province and was taken by Washington as possible evidence of a chemical attack in the town, Ulyanov said that in many of these pictures and video clips no pieces or parts of aerial bombs can be seen, but what can be seen clearly in the crater of the explosion is a metal tube, which suggests that the ammunition that was stuffed with sarin was detonated on the ground by those armed groups that control the area of Khan Sheikhoun.
“Such a high degree of readiness to respond, and not in a metropolis but in a small provincial town with a population of 40,000, suggests that the ‘rescuers’ were on the scene before it happened,” he said.
“References to the presence of irrefutable proof in the American intelligence community, which remain unpresented, do not have any credibility, especially since the memory of the confusion surrounding the ‘weapons of mass destruction of Saddam Hussein’ is still fresh,” he noted.
M. al-Frieh/H. Said