Russia Tries to Downplay Split With US Over Syria Chemical Weapon Report

US Demands 'Strong and Swift Action' Against Assad Govt

by Jason Ditz, August 25, 2016

Russian officials tried to sound a conciliatory note over yesterday’s UN chemical weapons report, which noted two releases of “toxic substances” following Syrian helicopter attacks, and one ISIS deployment of mustard gas, with Ambassador Vitaly Churkin insisting that they and the US have a mutual interest in discouraging such attacks.

US officials don’t appear to be there yet, however, with their comments exclusively centering on the two incidents with Syrian helicopters, and demanding “strong and swift action” against the Assad government, and reiterating their demands for immediate regime change.

Russian officials urged more study on the matter, but did say they found it “very important” that the report finally admitted that ISIS had used mustard gas in an attack, because usually Western officials have been trying to blame the Syrian government for all those incidents.

Syria gave up its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013 and early 2014. The incidents they are blamed for center on the release of chlorine gas, and not the deployment of the sort of advanced chemical weapons Syria had before that disarmament.

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