#Russia flew a plane load of #Douma witnesses to the #Hague to prove that the chemical attack there was staged by US terrorists wearing White Helmets— Nardeep Pujji (@AWAKEALERT) April 26, 2018
They spoke at a press conference at the HQ of the OPCW which is investigating the alleged attack.
UK, US France boycotted#Syria pic.twitter.com/Eq5EBWNOzA
Russia transported 17 Syrians to Europe. The witnesses discredited claims of an attack by the Assad regime during a briefing at the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.
The citizens including doctors from the only hospital from the Syrian town of Douma, said the people has mistaken breathing problems caused by smoke, the result of a chemical attack.
The witnesses, sitting amidst Syrian and Russian officials, said the people claim the breathing problems were caused by a chemical attack but no such thing took place.
The Russian envoy to the OPCW claimed the videos of the attack circulating on media are a little more than “a sloppily staged video” and are “completely groundless.”
Russia has previously claimed the Syrian civil forces, The White Helmets, faked the attack by posting false videos on social media.
Aid workers and medics confirmed the symptoms shown by the citizens were synonymous to that of a gas attack.
The OPCW weapons inspectors’ access to the site of the alleged chemical attack was delayed repeatedly by the Syrian and Russian governments. The OPCW feared the delays may result in evidence tampering.
The statements provided by the 17 Syrian citizens will be challenged. The U.S., France and the U.K. boycotted the press the hearing.
“The OPCW is not a theatre,” said the U.K.’s envoy Peter Wilson. He also said the selected witnesses should be questioned by the OPCW weapons investigators.
The French envoy Philippe Lalliot called the Russian selected citizen’s statements, “an obscene masquerade.”
“This obscene masquerade does not come as a surprise from the Syrian government, which has massacred and gassed its own people for the last seven years,” he said.
The OPCW investigators can only determine if the alleged chemical attack in Douma did take place but they do not have the authority to allocate responsibility of the alleged attack.
The United Nation’s special envoy for Syria, Staffan De Mistura warned the month of May could be very dangerous for Syria because Israel and Iran think of the country as their “playground.”
The looming threat is even more prominent after the U.S. President Donald Trump’s reluctance to renew the nuclear deal with Iran which could lead to further disturbance in the already war torn country.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: White Helmets/Handout via REUTERS