Russian MP: US Chemical Weapons Report in Syria ‘Fabricated’
A US government report concluding Syria has used chemical weapons against militants is a fabrication, a senior Russian lawmaker said Friday.
“Information about the usage of chemical weapons by [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is fabricated in the same way as the lie about [Saddam] Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq],” Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian lower house of parliament’s international affairs committee, said on Twitter.
US President Barack Obama “is going the same way” as former President George W. Bush did then, Pushkov said.
The White House said on Thursday it now believes with “high confidence” that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons many times during the two-year conflict there, and vowed to boost US aid to the armed opposition fighting to remove Assad from power.
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama had decided to provide further support, including military support, for Syrian opposition forces as a result of its conclusion that government forces has used such chemical weapons.
Russia President Vladimir Putin’s top foreign policy adviser said Friday that claims by the United States on use of chemical weapons was “unconvincing” and warned that direct military aid to militants would hurt peace efforts.
“The information that has been presented, the facts that have been presented do not look convincing to us,” Yury Ushakov told reporters.
Ushakov said the chances of holding a Syrian peace conference that Russia and the United States proposed jointly on May 7 would be hurt by Obama’s decision to provide military support for the opposition.
NATO Urges UN Inspection
In response, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday welcomed a “clear” US statement accusing the Syrian regime of using chemical weapons and said Damascus must let the UN investigate the allegations.
“I welcome clear US statement. Urgent that Syria regime should let UN investigate all reports of chemical weapons use,” he said on his official Twitter feed. He said the international community had made clear that the use of chemical weapons was “completely unacceptable” and a “breach of international law”.
“NATO Patriots will ensure effective protection of Turkey against any Syria missile attack, chemical or not,” he said, referring to the air defense missiles that NATO has stationed in Turkey.
Syria FM: US Claims on Chemical Weapons Use ’Lies’
Syria on Friday slammed Washington’s claims that it had used chemical weapons in its fight against militant opposition groups, accusing the United States of “lies” based on “fabricated information”.
“The White House published a statement full of lies about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, based on fabricated information, through which it is trying to hold the Syrian government responsible for such use,” state news agency SANA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying.
The official said the US claims came “after reports affirming that armed terrorist groups active in Syria are in possession of deadly chemical weapons and the technology necessary to make them”.
Washington said on Thursday there was evidence that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons including sarin nerve gas in its military operations.
The US administration announced it will provide “military support” to the terrorist groups active over the Syrian territories, a decision condemned Moscow, Berlin and Damascus.
“The American decision to arm armed terrorist groups demonstrates… the direct involvement of the United States in the Syrian bloodbath,” the official stressed.
“This raises serious questions about their good intention when it comes to finding a political solution in Syria,” the official added.
Washington and Moscow have been spearheading efforts to organize a conference in Geneva to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict. However, the US decision to provide Syrian opposition with arms will probably hinder any possible peace efforts.
Assad: We are Preparing for Resistance in Golan
Syrian President Bashar Assad called on all national factions and parties as well as the Palestinian forces to resist the Zionist entity along the Golan Heights.
Lebanese officials visiting Syria told Lebanese paper Al Akhbar that Assad has a long term plan in Golan similar to what the Islamic resistance in Lebanon had achieved in the South. This would include, according to Assad, a continued struggle against Israel.
“The commitment of the Syrian community to resist the Israeli enemy can help fortify the internal struggle facing Syria,” Assad told the officials.
The officials say Assad comfortable because Syria has not only overcome the stage of strategic threat, but also has triumphed with steadfastness throughout this period in light of the fiercest media, political and security campaigns as well as global hypocrisy. “The backbone of the Syrian state is still solid since more than three million Syrian students had conducted their final exams under war,” Assad added.
Assad realizes the importance of the Syrian and Lebanese oil in the next phase, and threats against Syria and Lebanon to protect their oil on land and at sea, Al-Akbar daily reported. “The great battle to come will be on oil, we have to protect our oil in Lebanon, Syria. Oil in the Gulf is controlled the Americans and is used to destroy our country, so we must use our oil in the development of our country and employ its revenues in the conflict with the Israeli enemy,” Assad urged.
Syrian Army Advances in Aleppo, Controls Rusafa Neighborhood in Deir Ezzor
The Syrian army thwarted on Friday an infiltration attempt by armed groups militiamen towards the al-Awared bridge via the cemeteries in the Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood of Aleppo, Al-Manar Website correspondent reported.
Violent clashes took place between the Syrian army and armed groups at the entrances of al-Sakhoor neighborhood of Aleppo, amid progress by the Syrian army in the area.
A field source confirmed to Al-Manar website that clashes occurred between the national forces and the armed opposition groups in the eastern side of al-Nobbol city north of Aleppo.
“Clashes resulted in a number of killed and wounded within the ranks of the insurgents,” the source said, noting that the army troops raised the Syrian flag on the outskirts of the village of Mayer.
On the other hand, Syrian warplanes targeted the headquarters of the Legitimate Association (Hay’a Shari’a) in the city of Raqqa, killing number of terrorists and wounding others, along with destroying a car with a built-in machine gun, Al-Manar correspondent said.
In Tartous, leader of the so-called “Free of the Coast battalion” has been arrested while trying to flee to Lebanon through illegal crossings accompanied by a number of wanted terrorists.
Al-Manar correspondent also reported that the Syrian army foiled a suicide bomber attempting to blow himself up in a car in the area of Kafr Amer in Zaqbadani, Damascus, where the army targeted and destroyed the car before reaching its target.
In Banias countryside, one of the armed groups’ militiamen blew himself up with a bomb he was carrying while he was being chased by the army.
Moreover, Al-Manar correspondent confirmed that the Syrian army also targeted gunmen in al-Jubeila, Sanaa, Hamidiya and Sheikh Yassin in Deir Ezzor. It also seized control over al-Rusafa neighborhood in the same area.
In the same context, the Syrian Al-Ekhbariya channel reported Friday that the Syrian army “restored security and stability to al-Rusafa in Deir Ezzor and expelled militants out of the area.”
Local authorities also announced that the Syrian army restored security to the village of Abu Habaylat in Hama eastern countryside, after it achieved victory over al-Nusra Front groups in the village.
Egyptians free to join militants in Syria: Advisor to President Morsi
An adviser to Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi says Egyptians are free to join the foreign-backed Takfiri militants fighting against the government in Syria.
Khaled al-Qazzaz said on Thursday that Cairo was not adopting any measures against those who sought to fight against the Syrian government along with the extremist militants.
“The right of travel or freedom of travel is open for all Egyptians,” the Egyptian official stated.
Qazzaz, who is President Morsi’s adviser on foreign affairs, further rejected concerns that the Egyptians who fight alongside Takfiri militants in Syria would return home as extremists, even though such groups continue with attacks against Egyptian police and military in the northern Sinai Peninsula. “We don’t consider them a threat,” he said.
Several dozen Egyptian nationals have reportedly been killed while fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the past months of turmoil in Syria, but the number has not been independently confirmed.
In May, President Assad said that militants from 29 different countries were fighting against the government in different parts of the country.