Syria’s Ambassador to Moscow Riyad Haddad has waved off reports that Syrian armed forces had allegedly used chemical weapons against opposition insurgents in the city of Homs as a provocation aimed at justifying a possible invasion.
"This information is absolutely false,” the Syrian diplomat was cited by the Russian media as saying Tuesday.
"Of course, it was a provocation. It’s part of a plan to mount psychological pressure on the Syrian government,” he added.
Mr. Haddad said the rumours of Assad’s regime using chemical weapons against rebels were spread to prepare the ground for a possible invasion into Syria. He stressed however these attempts had been countered by the combined Sino-Russian effort.
Russian embassy probes into Syria chemical arms accusations
The Russian embassy in Damascus is looking into media reports that accuse Syrian security forces of using chemical weapons against insurgents outside Homs, the embassy’s spokesman Sergei Markov has told Russian media.
"The embassy hasn’t received any reports of this kind. We are looking into this information,” he added.
Al Jazeera previously cited unnamed Syrian opposition activists who said the regime’s armed forces had resorted to chemical weapons.
The Arab-language TV channel showed footage, in which Homs rebels claimed that the Assad’s forces had used poisonous gas against them. They also claimed Syrian warplanes had dropped bombs on militants, containing "poisonous substance.”
Moscow doubtful over Syria chemical attack reports
According to a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow has no evidence to suggest that Syrian government forces have resorted to chemical warfare.
The pronouncement follows a report from London-based Syrian exiles that rebel casualties near Homs displayed symptoms compatible with sarin poisoning.
Damascus dismissed the report as a blatant lie.
Use of war chemicals may prove political suicide for Syrian government – Lavrov
Any use of war chemicals may prove political suicide for the Syrian government, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview with the Russia TodayTV Channel.
He said he doubted that the Syrian government may decide on the use of such weapons. Lavrov also pointed out that the Patriot anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that NATO has deployed on the Turkish-Syrian border aims to counter threats both from Syria and Iran.