Following the announcement by the Syrian Army of successfully defeating the Islamic State in the southern territories of the war-torn-country; Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of using the Islamic State as an excuse to maintain its military presence in Syria. Minister Lavrov, who spoke during a press conference with his Portuguese Counterpart in Lisbon, also took the opportunity to accused Washington of being more focused on overthrowing the Assad regime, than fighting Islamic terrorism. “Americans consider ISIL an excuse to maintain their military presence in Syria, very nearly even as an ally in their fight against the Syrian regime. Their main task once again is to change the regime, not to defeat ISIL,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
The Kremlin’s top diplomat also responded to a comment by the British Army chief, General Mark Carleton-Smith, who termed Russia – in an Interview to the Daily Telegraph – “a far greater threat” to the United Kingdom’s security than the Islamic State. “I have heard about this statement, I have also heard many statements like this from Minister of Defence of United Kingdom. You know, we cannot affect British government decisions about who do they trust to command their army. I hope that they check such kinds of decisions if they are adequate,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
The Syrian government in Damascus accused insurgents of wounding more than 100 people in a suspected toxic gas attack in Aleppo over the weekend, which a Syrian health official described as the first such assault by Islamist terrorists in the city. One doctor claimed that patients suffered difficulty breathing, eye inflammation, shivering and fainting. According to the Syrian State news agency SANA Islamic terrorists ‘hit three civilian districts in Aleppo with projectiles containing gases.’ While Syria’s foreign ministry urged the U.N. Security Council to condemn and punish “these terrorist crimes,” Rebel officials denied using chemical weapons and accused the Damascus government of trying to frame them.
Meanwhile in Brussels, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he did not receive clear information about the alleged gas attack in Syria, calling on Damascus and its most-powerful backer, Moscow, to provide the international community with concrete evidence, which must be presented to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. “As you refer to this attack and the use of gas and chemical weapons because it was disclosed recently, we don’t have clear and sufficient information to comment, especially this information broadcasted and transmitted by Russia. Obviously I want to reiterate here that France does condemn the use of chemical weapons, whatever the users are and I wish that those that disclose this information on the potential use of chemical weapons could share all the information and transfer all this information to the international agency Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) in the Hague in order to be absolutely sure that we identify the use of chemical weapons and can attribute it,” French President Emmanuel Macron said.