Moscow Questions Findings of a French Report into Alleged Chemical Attack in Khan Sheikhoun

MOSCOW, (ST)-The accusations made by France against the Syrian government in which it claimed that Damascus used chemical weapon in Khan Sheikhoun raise doubts about how French experts have obtained samples from the scene of the incident, the Russian foreign Ministry has stressed.

In a statement published on its website on Thursday, the ministry commented on the findings of the French report on the alleged chemical attack in Syria's Idlib province, saying "France is the third country after Turkey and Britain to have conducted a probe into the chemical attack. The impression is that the above countries either do not trust the OPCW or are trying to steer its investigation in a particular direction."

 "The five-page French document has raised quite a few questions. First, it begs the question as to the circumstances under which France has obtained samples that it claims were taken directly at the scene of the incident. If they were taken by the French intelligence services themselves, it means they have free access to an area controlled, according to the report, by the armed groups of Syrian opposition forces linked to al-Qaeda. If the samples were obtained from a different site located, for example, on the territory of one of Syria’s neighbours, the credibility of the analysis carried out by France would immediately be called into question," the ministry clarified.

The ministry pointed out that there are many obvious discrepancies which testify to the poor quality of the investigation.

It affirmed that the only real possibility of establishing the truth would be to send the OPCW fact-finding mission to Khan Sheikhoun and the Shayrat Airbase to conduct a field investigation.

French experts cast doubts on France's accusations against Damascus

Meantime, a number of French experts cast doubt on their country's probe into the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian province of Idlib.

Speaking to Sputnik France, Brigadier General Dominique Trinquand, a former crisis employee of the UN, NATO and the EU, underscored the French government's biased approach to the investigation.

"The problem is that there was no investigation because it turned out that the French government had taken all the materials in order to conduct the probe on its own. It would be better if an international investigation would have been launched, but we know why that didn't happen," he said, according to Sputnik.

Political analyst Jacques Hogard, for his part, said that the French politicians have an obsession that is related to overthrowing the Syrian government rather than the destruction of Daesh terrorist organization. "That's why they start to claim that there is proof [on the alleged Idlib chemical attack] which no one can confirm," Hogard clarified.

He added that it was not in the interest of  the Syrian government to use chemical weapon at a time when the Syrian army and its allies was on the road to victory.

Patrick Barriot, former military doctor and colonel of the French army, in turn, questioned the independent nature of the investigation.

"Every time, the case is investigated by experts whose independence is questionable. Have you seen how fast everything was done? The attack in Khan Shaykhun occurred on April 4, and the report was published on April 26, with the Americans staging a missile attack almost shortly after [the original attack]. Incredible speed! It is impossible to properly and honestly conduct an investigation in such a short period of time," he said.

 Hamda Mustafa