Khan Sheikhoun: we must establish the truth (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)
The question of what really happened in Khan Shaykhun on April 4 still remains unanswered. Russia’s critical attitude to the methods of work and to the conclusions of the report of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) in Syria on this matter is well known. For three months of work, the FFM could only prove the use of sarin, thus confirming the findings of the Syrians themselves, who managed to obtain samples onsite.
We believe there are fundamental flaws in the work of the Mission, including the following: the inquiry was conducted remotely, without visiting the scene of the incident; the CWC’s basic chain-of-custody principle hasn’t been honoured; in fact, the main question remained unanswered – under what circumstances and how exactly the chemical agent was deployed.
Now that the task of finding out what exactly happened in Khan Shaykhun has been passed to the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in Syria, we expect it to conduct a professional, transparent and depoliticized investigation of this incident, which is now being used by some to stir tensions around Syria. It is important to consider all the versions of what happened in Khan Shaykhun with a primary focus on who, under what circumstances and how used the poisonous substance. Conducting a full-fledged and unbiased investigation means visiting the very scene of the tragedy as well as the Shayrat airbase, where sarin used in Khan Shaykhun was allegedly stored. The JIM has all the necessary reasons to do it, including legal ones.
Provided all the above requirements are met, it could be hoped that the truth will be established and culprits of this crime exposed.