Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed any suggestion that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces were behind a chemical attack that killed scores of people in the rebel-held Idlib province, back in April, an alleged chemical attack that prompted a harsh response by the United States, which effectively destroyed some 20% of Assad’s operational air force. In an interview with the daily newspaper ‘Le Figaro’, Putin stressed that there was no proof chemical weapons were used by Assad, maintaining Moscow’s position that the government air force targeted a rebels’ weapons storehouse that contained, among others, chemical weapons. “(Just after this chemical attack) We immediately proposed to our U.S. partners and everybody who sees it sensible to arrange an inspection of the airfield from where, as it was claimed, the planes which used chemical weapons took off. If the chemical weapons had been used by President Assad’s armed forces, then inevitably traces would have remained in that airfield. Modern control methods would immediately have traced it, that is inevitable. It would remain both in the planes and the airfield. But everyone refused to conduct these checks.” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
President Putin’s remarks came just one day after French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country’s intelligence services in April blamed Assad’s forces for the Idlib attack, said the use of chemical weapons in Syria was a red line for Paris and would result in reprisals.