A report recently released by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria contains groundless allegations about Damascus’ use of chemical weapons, Russian delegation spokesperson Anastasia Bagdatyeva said at the 39th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday.

“We have once again taken note of information about the alleged use of chemical weapons. The Commission unequivocally puts the blame on ‘government forces and/or affiliated militias’ though no official investigations have been conducted,” Bagdatyeva noted, commenting on the report based on investigations conducted from January 16 to July10, 2018.

According to her, “such groundless accusations only play into the hands of the Western countries that plan to carry out another aggression against Syria, using a staged chemical weapons incident as an excuse.”

“We understand very well that the Commission advocates the interests of its sponsors, the countries that bet on an illegal change of government in Damascus,” Bagdatyeva said. “Such institutions undermine confidence in the Human Rights Council and the United Nations’ human rights dimension in general,” she stressed.

The report, released in Geneva on September 12, mentions Syrian government forces’ alleged attacks in Eastern Ghouta on January 22 and February 1. According to the commission, “in both incidents, victims and witnesses, including treating medical staff, described strikingly similar symptoms, including but not limited to respiratory distress, coughing, burning eyes, throat irritation and nausea. Witnesses consistently recalled the distinctive smell of chlorine at the affected sites and on victims’ clothing. Some witnesses described a scent similar to bleach and household detergents, though more pungent.” The report also describes an incident in Idlib, claiming that “government helicopters dropped at least two barrels carrying chlorine payloads in the Taleel area of Saraqeb” on February 4.

Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov earlier told reporters that the United States was deploying additional missiles to the Middle East in order to carry out an air strike on Syria following a staged chemical weapons incident in the Idlib province that would be blamed on Syrian government forces.

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