Syria’s Foreign Ministry says “baseless” claims that Damascus may be preparing for a chemical weapons attack are a US ploy to justify another aggression against the Arab country.
In a statement carried by Syria’s official SANA news agency, a Foreign Ministry source said Washington’s allegations were not only “misleading” but also “devoid of any truth and not based on any facts.”
The objective of the US accusations was to “justify a new aggression on Syria under ill-founded pretexts, similar to what happened in Shayrat Airport, and to cover the US-led international illegal coalition’s strikes,” the source added.
On April 7, US warships in the eastern Mediterranean launched a barrage of 59 Tomahawk missiles against Shayrat in Syria’s Homs Province. Washington claimed that the airbase targeted in the missile raid was the origin of the April 4 alleged gas attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib Province.
Earlier this week, US Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed that Washington had “identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack” by the Syrian government “that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian military would “pay a heavy price” if they went ahead with the alleged plan, he added.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis also echoed Spicer’s words, with the latter claiming that Washington had seen “activity” at Shayrat Airfield that “indicated active preparations for chemical weapons use.”
Elsewhere in his statement, the Syrian Foreign Ministry source said Damascus “condemns the US threats and rejects them,” warning that “any US aggression on its army and people is in the service of terrorist organizations and contradicts with the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and Security Council resolutions on combating terrorism.”
Militants fabricated data against Syrian govt.
Separately on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow has received information that Syria militants have already fabricated video materials to accuse Damascus of a chemical attack.
She also named the Syrian city of Saraqib and the town of Ariha, both in Idlib, as the potential locations for the assault, she added.
“The current [US] information attack [against Syria] is very likely a warning sign of an intervention,” Zakharova said. “The campaign, which was started by the US and is being backed by London and Paris, on the alleged chemical attack … is not original, it’s a textbook script, which has already been used in several countries in the region.”
She further stressed that the US claims seem to be “a provocation which targets not only the Syrian leadership, but also Russia.”
“These accusations and threats sound cynical amid the background of the blatantly illegal activities of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition fighting against the sovereign state of Syria,” she pointed out.
The US moves could be aimed at derailing the fifth round of Syria peace talks brokered by Moscow, Tehran and Ankara, in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, on July 4-5, the Russian official concluded.
The developments come at a time that Syrian forces have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements, who have been wreaking havoc in the Middle Eastern state since 2011.