Thursday 22 March 2018

Russia warns against using chemical weapons use to justify Syrian intervention

Alissa de Carbonnel

RUSSIA, a fierce opponent of foreign military intervention in Syria, has voiced concern that unnamed powers might use allegations of chemical weapons attacks to justify such action.

"The issue of chemical weapons has become the subject of speculation and provocation," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference with his German and Finnish counterparts.

"I do not rule out that somebody wants to use it to state that a red line has been crossed and a foreign intervention is necessary," he said.

Lavrov also urged Turkey to clarify reports that Syrian militants fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been arrested on its soil in possession of the nerve agent sarin.

France said on Tuesday it had performed tests that proved Assad's forces had used nerve gas in the more than two-year-old conflict, a "red line" that the United States and other countries have repeatedly said would demand a response.

Russia, a longstanding Syrian ally and arms supplier, has repeatedly warned against outside intervention in Syria, saying the Syrian people themselves should decide their fate.


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