'Syria chemical weapons probe poisoned by new Russia-US Cold War'

The way the OPCW-UN's investigated the chemical incident in Syria is clearly not what the world expects when it sets up an agency to investigate events like this, and wants to be able to rely on it, says Nicolas J. S. Davies, author of Blood On Our Hands.

Russia on Thursday vetoed a US draft resolution at the UN Security Council to extend the work of a joint inquiry into the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in Syria earlier this year.

RT:  Why do you think the US and Russia failed to agree on this issue?

Nicolas Davies: It’s very hard to understand what has gone wrong with the OPCW investigation here. I mean the inspectors didn’t go within a 100 kilometer of the site, presumably because it’s too dangerous for them because that area is controlled by rebels linked to Al-Qaeda. Yet, they trusted the same rebels to gather samples and have custody of all the physical evidence they then examined, which is a complete violation of the OPCW’s rules for handling materials like that and for conducting an investigation.

@RT_com Russia blocks US-drafted resolution to renew inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in https://on.rt.com/8sfv pic.twitter.com/gYyWfmlQoz

@RT_com Russian resolution on international inquiry into chemical attacks in has failed at UN Security Council https://on.rt.com/8sfv pic.twitter.com/SgBOthDb0t

Then in the report, they issued they seemingly ignored all the contrary evidence that suggested there might have been some other cause for these deaths of 82 people – possibly a bomb hitting another building nearby that was that was storing pesticides – that is one of the theories. But clearly that is not what the world expects of the OPCW or of the UNSC. When the world signs an international treaty and establishes an agency to investigate an incident like this, we expect to be able to rely on it, to conduct its investigations with integrity and to hear from experts from all sides and all points of view. This clearly didn’t happen. There are American experts challenging this … John Gilbert, who used to work for the Defense Department, I believe. So we haven’t had the kind of thorough investigation of this incident that all those ambassadors sitting on the UNSC should be demanding and should expect.

RT:  Do you think we’ll ever get to the bottom of what actually happened in Syria following this latest disagreement at the UNSC?

ND: I don’t know. This just seems to be poisoned by what people are calling a new Cold War between the US and Russia. Frankly, the hostility seems to becoming much more from the American side then the Russian side. But it really threatens the whole world. We’ve got the two countries with more of 90 percent of the nuclear weapons in the world that seem to be on a collision course. At the same time, we have a crisis on the Korean peninsula, where essentially the North Koreans have come to believe that the only way they can keep their own people safe is to develop weapons that threaten the lives of millions of Americans.

We have to acknowledge that this is just a breakdown in the rule of international law, in the world, and this has really developed for the most part since 9/11, and since the US invasions of Afghanistan, and Iraq and serial US acts of aggression against country after country, for which there has been no legal or political accountability whatsoever…

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Cuban Communist Party: Syria’s victory over terrorism is a victory for its friendly countries

Havana, SANA – Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba, Jose Ramon Balaguer Cabrera, said that Syria’s victory over terrorism is a victory for all its friendly countries in the world including Cuba.

Balaguer made his remarks during a meeting with the Syrian Ambassador to Cuba, Idris Mayya.

Balaguer hailed the sacrifices and achievements made by the Syrian Arab army against terrorism, expressing confidence that Syria will achieve victory in its war against states and powers which have bad intentions towards the country.

He reiterated Cuban leadership and people’s support to Syria, renewing Cuba’s condemnation and firm rejection of any interference in its internal affairs since the Syrian people alone have the right to determine their future.

Ambassador Mayya stressed Syria’s determination to continue fighting terrorist organizations throughout Syrian territory until full eradication, adding that Syria will defeat terrorism thanks to the steadfastness of its people, the heroic sacrifices of its army and the bravery of its leadership.

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Syrians Send Condolences for Death of Cuban Journalists' Leader

The Journalists'' Union in this capital, made up of more than 2,000 professionals, today conveyed to Cuban authorities and their peers'' guild their sorrow for the recent death of the president of the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC), Antonio Molto Martorell.

In a message addressed to the Cuban Embassy in Syria, representatives of the organization in this Arab country expressed their 'deepest condolences to the journalists, relatives of the deceased and the whole people.'

Molto Martorell, who had excellent human qualities as a revolutionary and a professional with more than 50 years of experience in journalism, died of cancer on August 15, at the age of 74.

The Syrian Journalists' Union thanked Cuba for its support for the just causes and for Syria, a country that has been living since March 2011 a bloody armed conflict and fights within its territory against extremist groups, many of which are supported by foreign powers.

At the same time, we want prosperity for Cuba and the continuity of its Revolution, the note said.

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Syria Rejects French Government's Accusations on Chemical Attack

Damascus, Apr 27 (Prensa Latina) Syria has described the recent statements by French Foreign Minister, Jean Marc Ayrault, about the alleged chemical attack in the town of Kahn Sheikun, Idleb province, as a ''rabid campaign of misinformation and lies''.

'The accusations made by the French government represent a flagrant aggression and violation of the powers of international organizations, in an attempt to hide the truth of that crime and those behind it,' a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Ministry said.

'The French government has no legal jurisdiction nor the competence to determine what happened in Khan Shaikhun and draw conclusions,' and even that country is involved in that crime and its objection is shown to a draft resolution proposed by Russia and Iran to form a neutral and professional committee to investigate alleged attacks,' the statement said.

'Western countries resort to lying, deceit and disinformation to carry out their policies aimed at dominating the world and returning to the times of colonialism, mandate and fiduciary administration. What happened in Khan Shaikhun comes in the framework of the conspiracy project against Syria to raise the collapsed moral of the armed terrorist groups after their successive defeats at the hands of the Syrian army, the statement states.

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UN Dismayed by Toll of Terrorist Attack in Syria

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura expressed dismay at the growing number of civilian casualties as a result of the terrorist attack on a refugee convoy in Syria on April 15.

According to the latest update, a truck-bomb left at least 130 dead, including 67 children, and 200 wounded, he told reporters in Geneva.

De Mistura said that the pain is greater when you see that the caravan of buses attacked on the outskirts of Aleppo was evacuating thousands of people that had been subjected to three years of siege in the towns of Kefraya and al-Fouaa.

When it seemed that they would come out of that situation, the tragedy occurs, he lamented.

According to the UN mediator at the Geneva peace talks, the horrific attack generated a moment of unity, as representatives of the Syrian government, the opposition and non-governmental organizations helped the wounded together.

Therefore, this attack somehow failed in its goal to divide, he asserted.

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Turkish Police Arrest 6 Linked to Russian Ambassador's Killer

Parents, relatives and roommate of the gunman have been arrested as officials claim there are signs of the assassin's links to Fethullah Gulen.

Following Monday’s gripping, gruesome assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov by 22-year old riot police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas in the capital city of Ankara, Turkish authorities detained six people Tuesday linked to the gunman.

RELATED: Russian Ambassador to Turkey Shot Dead in Ankara​

Turkish police arrested the shooters parents, sister, two other relatives and a roommate.

As politicians, policymakers and pundits try to make sense of the event, a senior Turkish security official told Reuters that he alleges the shooter has ties to the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned Gulen as a terrorist, blaming him for July’s failed coup in the country.

Gulen, however, has denied involvement in the assassination.

"I condemn in the strongest terms this heinous act of terror," he said in a statement, as reported by The Middle East Eye. "No terrorist act can be justified, regardless of its perpetrators and their stated purposes."

RELATED: U.S. Closes Turkey Embassies After Shotgun-Wielding Man Attacks​

Both countries said that in the wake of the attack bilateral ties will not be damaged. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the attack was aimed at derailing Russia's attempts to find, with Iran and Turkey, a solution for the Syria crisis.

The Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers will meet in Moscow Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Syria.

The United States has also closed its embassies in Ankara, Istanbul and Adana following the arrest on Monday of a man who stood in front of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and unloaded eight shotgun blasts into the air. No injuries or casualties have been reported.


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Memorandum Signed with Cuba Highlighted in Syria

The Syrian media highlights today the signing of a memorandum of understanding to strengthen economic and trade relations with Cuba.

The memorandum was signed by the chambers of commerce of the two countries as part of the 34th International Fair of Havana, said the media in Syria.

Samer Khalil, Syrian Deputy Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, quoted by sources, said that this step is an incentive to increase bilateral relations.

The reports mentioned that president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba Orlando Hernandez said that this memorandum will identify the basic needs and what the Cuban market requires and also that Syrian businesspeople will be offered all kinds of services.

The Syrian media said the signing will also be a way to oppose the unfair blockade and unilateral economic measures against Cuba and Syria set up by the United States and its allies.

The Syrian delegation, led by Khalil, also discussed the prospects for economic and trade cooperation with deputy minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment of Cuba Ileana Nuñez Mordoche.

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Syria's Only Alternative Is Victory, Presidential Advisor Says

Syria's only alternative is victory, and the future has already been determined by the blood of the Syrian army martyrs and the resistance of the people, said presidential advisor Bouzeina Shabaan.

In an interview with national television, Shabaan said that the current political scene undoubtedly favors the government and the people and is against those who started the war and generated unrest.

In this sense, she added that Syria's strength reinforces Russia and China's position in the international level, and any negotiation involving the separatist project in the northern province of Hasaka will be doomed to failure.

There are millions of Kurds that reject any cessation project; they are patriots and love Syria, Shabaan stressed.

Shabaan explained that 'Turkey is trying to harvest the results of what it did against the Syrian state, but we have Russia and Iran as honest allies, coordinating with us word by word.

She also referred to the national reconciliation program and was surprised by the stir some have caused in the United Nations about this topic and the achievements in Syrian areas like Daraya and Moadamieh.

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