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Moscow warning over toxins used by Syria gunmen fell on deaf ears

April 30, 15:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW
“During clashes with illegal militant groups opposed to the government, gunmen from al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front used chlorine near that settlement,” the ministry reports
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Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow

Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow

© ITAR-TASS/Gennady Khamelyanin

MOSCOW, April 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia has repeatedly warned about the danger of chemical agents getting into the hands of gunmen in Syria, but Moscow’s arguments fell on deaf ears, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Moscow was seriously concerned about media reports saying chemical agents had been used in the Syrian city of Kfar Zeita. “During clashes with illegal militant groups opposed to the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, gunmen from al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front used chlorine near that settlement. Two people were killed and about 100 were injured as a result,” the ministry said.

“We have repeatedly warned at different international platforms, including at the UN Security Council, about the danger of chemical agents getting into the hands of gunmen from illegal armed groups. We stressed that one cannot rule out the situation in which groups of the armed opposition may in the future get access to and use chemical weapons against government forces. Unfortunately, our arguments were not heard,” they added.

Russia expects that a fact-finding mission will investigate claims that toxic chlorine gas was used in the Syrian village of Kfar Zeita by Islamic militants, the ministry added.

In connection with the recent developments in Kfar Zeita, the ministry pointed to the importance of strict compliance with the unanimously approved resolution 2118 of the UN Security Council, which clearly states commitments of member countries as to their immediately informing the UNSC “about any violation to resolution 1514, including the purchase by non-state actors of chemical weapons and their delivery systems.

“We mark that the Syrian government promptly expressed readiness to invite a group of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to investigate facts of the use of chlorine in the country. We expect that unbiased work of international experts will make it possible to find out what really happened and will expose those responsible,” the ministry said.

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