PUTIN SAVES THE SYRIAN GASMAN : Russia Blocks UN Action on Assad Regime’s Chemical Attacks

Russia indicated on Tuesday that it will block any Security Council action over a UN report which, for the first time, found the Assad regime responsible for chemical attacks. Last week’s report tied the regime to chlorine assaults on two towns in Idlib Province in spring 2015. Previous UN investigations — including of the sarin attacks near Damascus in August 2013 that killed at least 1,400 people — have not been able to assign responsibility because of Security Council restrictions.

Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, acknowledged after a closed-door Council meeting on Tuesday that chlorine is being used, despite the Assad regime’s supposed handover of chemical weapons and destruction of facilities.

However, he ruled out any action with Russia’s line that there was no proof of the Syrian military’s responsibility:

Clearly there is a smoking gun. We know that chlorine most likely has been used — that was already the finding of the fact finding mission before – but there are no fingerprints on the gun.

There is nobody to sanction in the report which has been issued. It contains no names, it contains no specifics….If we are to be professional we need to question all the conclusions.

Syrian Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari — who last week blamed the attacks near Damascus in 2013 on France — insisted that the UN investigators had been misled:

The conclusions contained in the report were totally based on statements made by witnesses presented by the terrorist armed groups. Therefore, these conclusions lack any physical evidence.

The Assad regime has used chlorine in attacks across northwest Syria since 2014, killing scores of civilians and injuring hundreds. www.mesop.de