Chemical Inspectors Collect More Samples from Syria's Douma

Desiree Steele
April 26, 2018

The OPCW does not assign blame for chemical attacks and there is now no mechanism that can do so after Russian Federation vetoed a resolution to extend the mandate of a United Nations-OPCW mission in November. His statement did not specify the weapons, but the remarks follow Russian media reports that Moscow is considering selling its S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria.

The official said if there were chemical weapons in the targeted facilities, thousands would have died following the airstrikes.

Russian Federation will supply Syria with new air defense systems, the RIA Novosti news agency said Wednesday, quoting General Sergei Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff.

Opposition activists and first responders who witnessed the attack in Douma, which was under rebel control at the time, say it was carried out by government forces and killed more than 40 people, many of them suffocating in an underground shelter where they were hiding from government airstrikes. Britain and France joint them.

Russia's Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that the planned delivery of an S-300 air defense system to Syria will be completed in the "near future", They did not provide an exact date, though Russian Federation is interested in shoring up Syria's air defense capability.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday if Syria uses Russian-made air defense missiles against Israel, the Israeli military would strike back. "Especially we cannot worry about the fact that such a state of things between Israel and Iran, which is now present in Israel's neighboring Syria could destabilize and aggravate the situation in the middle East", the Ambassador added.

"Russian specialists will continue training Syrian military personnel, as well as assist in the development of new air defense systems, the deliveries of which will be carried out in the near future", Rudskoy told the news agency. "If someone fires at our planes, we will destroy them ..." Israel responded by carrying out air strikes in Syria. Syrian air defences destroyed 70 out of 100 missiles that the coalition launched.

Israel and Russian Federation have maintained close contact to prevent any clashes between their forces in the skies over Syria.

Russian Federation has also stuck to its claim that Syria's aging air defenses took down 71 of the 105 cruise missiles fired by the US and its allies.

While weapons shipments into Syria are not uncommon, these flights involving Iran have caught the attention of United States intelligence because they occurred in the days after the April 13 U.S. airstrikes on Assad regime targets. Especially now that it has become clear the Trump administration didn't have sound evidence of an attack, the hasty decision to resort to force was a foolish one.

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