Embassy’s Press Officer reply to a question on possible air strike on Syria

Question: How will you comment on the statements made by British representatives, including Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations, threatening to “respond appropriately if the Assad regime repeats its illegal use of chemical weapons”?

Answer: We consider these statements and the plans to carry out a military strike against Syria as extremely dangerous. Fresh air strikes would become another blatant violation of international law. They would also seriously complicate the situation in Syria. We have already seen this in April.

Russia has credible information that the US and its allies are preparing a new raid of missile strikes on Syria under the false pretext of punishing Damascus for the “use of chemical weapons”. Militants from Al-Nusra Front (now known as Tahrir al-Sham) are expected to stage a chemical weapons attack in Idlib province in order to provide a pretext for the strikes. For this purpose, eight canisters of chlorine have been delivered to a village near Jisr al-Shughur, to be used in the staged attack. A separate group of militants, trained by the private British security company Olive, has also arrived in the area. The group will be disguised as White Helmets volunteers and will simulate a rescue operation involving locals purportedly injured in the attack.

At the same time, the US-UK-France coalition has deployed in the region a strike group of 70 military aircraft equipped with 380 cruise missiles, and US Navy missile destroyers USS Carney and USS Ross, each carrying 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Additional forces are ready to join.

These undisguised military preparations, let alone new air strikes, can only complicate the situation in Syria. Armed aggression against the sovereign would deal another blow to the fragile peace progress.

We call on the Western countries, including the UK, to abandon these devastating plans and to contribute constructively to a political settlement in Syria as well as to addressing the urgent humanitarian tasks.

The Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy is today sending an official letter on this matter to the Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt.