On April 4, the Syrian Air Force carried out an airstrike on a large warehouse with weapons and military hardware of terrorists on the outskirts of Khan-Shaykhun town in Idlib province, where also workshops for production of landmines with poisonous substances were located, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said on Wednesday.
“According to data of Russian means of objective control of the airspace, yesterday between 11:30 and 12:30 local time, the Syrian air power carried out an airstrike in the area of the eastern outskirts of the settlement of Khan-Shaykhun on a large ammunition depot of terrorists and gathering of military hardware. Workshops for production of landmines, filled with poisonous substances, were located on the territory of this warehouse,” Konashenkov said.
The spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry noted that ammunition and chemical weapons have been delivered from this warehouse to militants, operating on the territory of Iraq. “The fact of their usage by terrorists has been repeatedly proven both by international organizations and by the official authorities of this country,” he stressed.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, ammunition with poisonous substances from the same arsenal was used by militants in Aleppo, when the fact of their usage was spotted by Russian military specialists in late 2016. “Symptoms of the poisoning of the victims in Khan-Shaykhun on video footage in social networks are exactly the same as the victims in Aleppo had in the autumn of the last year,” Konashenkov pointed out.
He reminded that all materials and samples, proving the fact of usage of chemical weapons by terrorists in Aleppo, were documented and handed over to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), but they are still being studied there until now.
Earlier, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Syrian government forces carried out a “chemical attack” in the province of Idlib, which resulted in killing of 58 civilians and injuring of about 170 others.
Later, the SOHR reported that the Russian Aerospace Forces allegedly committed an aerial raid on a hospital, in which the victims of the chemical attack, allegedly carried out by Damascus, had been taken. The Russian Defense Ministry denied this information.
Against the background of these reports, France demanded to convene a meeting of the UN Security Council in connection with the “new chemical attack.” The US State Department and then US President Donald Trump accused Syrian Presiden Bashar al-Assad of carrying out the chemical attack. Washington called on Russia and Iran to exert pressure on the Syrian president.
According to media reports, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that what happened in Idlib jeopardized all efforts, made during the negotiation process in Astana.