Moscow, Apr 9 (AFP) The Kremlin today warned against jumping to conclusions over a suspected poison gas attack on the Syrian rebel-held town of Douma, after Moscow said its experts had found no traces of chemical weapons.
“It’s necessary to examine very carefully what happened in Douma. And it goes without saying that without this information, making any deductions is wrong and dangerous,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
He said that it was too early to judge because “no one has exhaustive information” and no investigation has been carried out, although Russia has already sent military experts to the scene.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier today that Russian specialists had found no trace of a chemical attack on Douma, after allegations from the international community.
“Our military specialists have visited this place… and they did not find any trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians,” he said.
Peskov suggested that the attack could have been staged by rebels to pin the blame on Damascus, something that Russia has recently warned could happen.
“Both the president and the defence ministry, citing intelligence sources, have spoken about such a provocation being prepared,” Peskov said.
“What’s meant is a provocation using chemical weapons by terrorists who might possess these substances” or the spreading of stories of such an attack, Peskov said.
Lavrov also said that a strike on a Syrian airbase, that Damascus and Moscow have blamed on Israel, was a “very dangerous development”.
“I hope at least that the US military and those countries participating in the coalition led by the United States understand that,” Lavrov told a press conference.
The Russian army had earlier accused Israel of carrying out deadly missile strikes on a Syrian military airbase from Lebanon before dawn today.
At least 14 fighters, including Iranians, were killed in the strike on the T-4 airbase, according to the monitoring organisation the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Forces from regime allies Russia and Iran, as well as fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, are known to have a presence at the base, according to the observatory.
Washington and Paris denied any involvement.
Meanwhile US President Donald Trump and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have vowed a strong response to the suspected poison gas attack in the rebel outpost of Douma.
The UN Security Council was expected to discuss the crisis later today. (AFP) MRJ MRJ
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.