, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(Sputnik News) ~ Earlier this week, the White House claimed that the Syrian government was conducting “potential preparations” for a chemical weapons attack. The statement warned that if Damascus conducted a chemical attack Syrian President Bashar Assad and his military “will pay a heavy price.”

In addition, US President Donald Trump had a phone call with French leader Emmanuel Macron, in which the two leaders agreed to work together to find s response in case of a new chemical incident in Syria.

The French president said that Paris could launch unilateral air strikes against targets in Syria if a new chemical attack is carried out.

Moreover, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon stated that London will support any retaliation by the United States for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

In response, Damascus dismissed the allegations, calling them “misleading, false and baseless.”

“Syria condemns the U.S. threats and rejects them,” a source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry told local media.

Syrian Minister for National Reconciliation Ali Haidar told the Associated Press that the allegations foreshadowed a new diplomatic campaign against Damascus at the UN.

According to Syrian lawmaker Muhammed Kheir al Akkam, the chemical weapons allegations against Damascus are groundless.

“In terms of international law, this is political pressure over Damascus. It is in response to Syrian Army’s advances in eastern Syria. Washington’s accusations are a lie,” al Akkam told Sputnik Arabic.

Rebel fighters fire mortar shells towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Quneitra province, bordering the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Syria June 24, 2017

Terorists fire mortar shells towards Syrian army forces in Quneitra province, bordering the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (Syria June 24, 2017)

The lawmaker stressed that Syrian forces have never used chemical weapons and will not do that in the future.

Commenting on the allegations, al Akkam said: “As for the legal procedure, if a country suspects another country of planning a chemical attack, it needs to contact the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW holds consultations and can send inspectors for an investigation in the suspected country.”

Syria is party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Previously, Damascus has already invited OPCW inspectors for a probe into the Khan Sheikhoun chemical incident. However, Washington did not respond.

“Later, it became clear that the incident was used as a pretext to mount political pressure over the Syrian government. Now, Washington wants to do the same again,” al Akkam said.

The lawmaker suggested that the US military needs additional grounds for its operations against the Syrian Army.

“Can the Pentagon explain why it shot downed a Syrian jet that bombed Daesh position near Raqqa?” al Akkam said.

He underscored that Damascus will provide a response to West’s pressure over chemical weapons.

“If the coalition continues to push with the issue of chemical weapons to justify its aggression against Syria, Damascus in coordination with Russia and Iran will deliver an unexpected response to this aggression, al Akkam concluded.

An Aleppo University student, shows Syrian citizens hows to put protective gear as he instructs them with rudimentary means of how to respond to a chemical attack, in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo (File)

An Aleppo University student, shows Syrian citizens hows to put protective gear as he instructs them with rudimentary means of how to respond to a chemical attack, in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo

On April 4, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces supported by the United States blamed the Syrian government for an alleged chemical weapon attack in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib province. Reacting to the incident, Washington, which had not presented any proof of the chemical weapons use by Damascus, launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian governmental military airfield in Ash Sha’irat on April 6.Damascus has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident and said that the Syrian government doesn’t possess chemical weapons as the full destruction of Damascus’ chemical weapons stockpile had been confirmed by the OPCW in January 2016.

In an interview with Sputnik on April 21, Assad characterized the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun as a provocation to justify the US strike on Ash Sha’irat. The Syrian leader also warned of the possibility of the new provocations similar to the one in Khan Sheikhoun.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.003003&lon=38.430176&z=7&m=bsclick on map to enlarge ~ here for the original link