Russian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Vitaly Churkin (photo by AFP)
Russia says the terrorists operating near the city of Tikrit in north-central Iraq have been found in possession of chemical weapons that have been sourced from Turkey.
Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Vitaly Churkin made the announcement to a UN Security Council meeting on Friday.
“These [explosive] compounds were either manufactured in Turkey or sold there without the right of re-export,” he said.
The Russian envoy said the discovery had been made following the “analysis of core chemical components of explosive compounds seized from” terrorists near Tikrit, “a subsequent identification of producer companies, and a scrutiny of terms of sales to other countries.”
“Chemical warfare agents are rapidly spreading across the region and are used by terrorists whereas some of the [Security Council] member states are stubbornly seeking to turn a blind eye on that and go on blaming ‘the [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad’s regime’ for everything.”
A chlorine-tinged cloud of smoke rises into the air from a bomb by Daesh that was detonated by Iraqi army and Popular Mobilization forces, in the town of al-Alam in Salahuddin Province, Iraq, March 10, 2015. (Photo by Reuters)
Russia and China have initiated a draft Security Council resolution obligating the world body’s member states to immediately report to the Council any action by non-government entities aimed at developing, obtaining, possessing, transporting, transferring or using chemical weapons.
Churkin suggested that, as a means of accusing the Syrian government of carrying out chemical attacks, Western countries “are using trumped-up pretexts to block the Russian-Chinese initiative.”
Damascus surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons to a joint mission led by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) following an attack outside the Syrian capital two years ago.
The August 21, 2013 attack saw chemical weapons being used in the Ghouta suburb of Damascus, where hundreds of people died. According to reports, the rockets used in the assault were handmade and contained sarin.
While the attack was blamed by some countries on the Syrian government, Damascus denied having been behind it. It agreed to a US-Russia initiative to turn over its arsenal of chemical weapons anyway.
Last December, Ahmed al-Gaddafi al-Qahsi, a cousin of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, alleged that the chemical weapons used in Ghouta were stolen from Libya and later smuggled into Syria via Turkey.
On Tuesday, the OPCW warned of the “extremely worrying” signs that the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which is mainly active in Syria and Iraq, could be developing chemical weapons of its own.
Turkey, alongside some other heavyweight regional players, are believed to have been providing patronage and safe passage for the Takfiri terrorism, which has been ravaging the countries since 2014. Daesh terrorists are believed to have made over USD 800 million dollars in black market oil sales in Turkey over the last eight months of the last year. Turkey denies the accusations.