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Russia censures OPCW for ‘politically-biased’ probe into Syria chemical attack

Russia has slammed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for its biased probe into an April incident in Syria where civilians died of the use of chemical weapons.

Russia’s representative to the OPCW said Tuesday that the probe by the global chemical weapons watchdog into the incident in Khan Sheikhun, a village northwest of Syria, was based on “unprofessional and politically-biased working methods.”

Georgy Kalamanov said in his speech to the annual gathering of OPCW members in The Hague that the probe was heavily influenced by Western governments that have sought over the past years to hit Syria with “unfounded accusations.”

The official, who also serves as Russia’s deputy minister of trade and industry, said “some of the Western countries wanted their own version of the bombing in Khan Sheikhun with chemical weapons.”

He said the accusations against Syria came despite the fact that the Arab country “has been combating terrorism and extremism that has been sponsored from outside.”

He said such probes were dominated by “double standard,” which was only “undermining the credibility of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the OPCW.”

Syria has denied the findings of a joint investigation by the OPCW and the United Nations, known as JIM, into the incident in Khan Sheikhun, saying its air force had not dropped bombs in the village, as claimed by JIM.

Russia has also called for JIM to be dismantled and a new mechanism to be launched to probe the incident. Russian authorities have maintained since the incident took place that it was the militants who triggered the tragedy and killed over 80 people. Moscow said at the time that the militants had deposited chemicals in the area that may have exploded in a Syrian or Russian air raid.

Moscow has been assisting Syria in its war on terror since late 2015 when Damascus asked Moscow to intervene in the conflict.

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