Russia: Syrian army struck rebel chemical weapons arsenal

Russia said that a chemical weapons arsenal in the Idlib province of Syria, used by terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, was hit Tuesday by Syria’s air force. 

Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack in the Idlib province of Syria resulted from a Syrian army strike on a storage facility used by rebel forces in the area for producing “toxic agents.”

“According to Russian airspace monitoring systems, yesterday between 11.30 and 12.30 local time the Syrian aviation carried out an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhun, targeting a major ammunition storage facility of terrorists and a cluster of military hardware,” said the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, according to Russian news agency TASS.

“The territory of this storage facility housed workshops to produce projectiles stuffed with toxic agents,” Konashenkov said.

Chemical weapons produced in the facility were used not only for terrorist groups operating in Syria, but in Iraq as well, he added.

“From this major arsenal, chemical-laden weapons were delivered by militants to Iraq,” he said. “Their use by terrorists was confirmed on numerous occasions by international organizations and official authorities of the country.”

“We assure that this information is completely unbiased and true,” Konashenkov insisted in a communication to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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Rebel Group Rejects Russia’s Claims

Konashenkov made his remarks as both US and European officials blamed the Syrian government for the attack on Tuesday. Meanwhile, a leader of the rebel group “Free Idlib Army” rejected Russia’s claims.

“Everyone saw the plane while it was bombing with gas,” the group’s head, Hasan Haj Ali, told Reuters.

“Likewise, all the civilians in the area know that there are no military positions there, or places for the manufacture (of weapons),” he stated. “The various factions of the opposition are not capable of producing these substances.”

The Syrian army on Tuesday denied using any chemical weapons in its attacks. “We deny completely the use of any chemical or toxic material in Khan Sheikhoun town today and the army has not used nor will use in any place or time, neither in past or in future,” it stated.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News