Defense Ministry has disputed speculation in a recent Human Rights
Watch (HRW) report on chemical attacks in Syria, which used online
photos and interviews to conclude that a “Soviet-made air-dropped
chemical bomb” was used in Khan Sheikhoun.
week, the international human rights organization published
a report on
the alleged "nerve-agent
Syria, which featured images of what HRW believed to be two remnants
of Soviet-produced bombs, allegedly found in the town of Khan
Syria’s province of Idlib.
fragments of what the rebels claim to be a bomb loaded with chemical
weapons were compared to a museum mock-up of a KhAB-250 Soviet bomb
in a combination of images published by HRW.
Defense Ministry commented on the report on Tuesday, questioning the
use of a photo from a Moscow museum as a substantial proof and noting
that the HRW did not conduct any investigation on the ground.
of all, Soviet KhAB-250 munitions have never been exported outside
the USSR, and every single one of them has been disposed of back in
the 1960s," the
spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor
Konashenkov, said in a statement on Tuesday.
specifically said in its report that they had "interviewed
60 people with first-hand knowledge of the chemical attacks and their
immediate aftermath, and reviewed dozens of photos and videos of
impact sites and victims that were posted online and provided
directly by local residents." The
group stressed, however, that it was "unable
to conduct ground investigations of the attack sites."
used digitally-enhanced aerial image and locally sourced photos of
a "crater," which
it said was an impact from the sarin containing bomb, allegedly
dropped from a Syrian warplane.
said the munitions that the HRW alleges were used in Khan Sheikhoun
and elsewhere did not leave craters in the first place."When
deployed, the KhAB-250 [bombs] exploded midair, at the height of
between 30 and 70 meters, so no crater would have been left from
ministry spokesman said.
then claimed that, in reality, the bombs in question "have
never been loaded with sarin." He
did not explain the inscription on the museum mock-up, which
the reported crater in Khan Sheikhoun had been grouted with cement
Damascus invited experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to study the site, Konashenkov added.
month has passed since the incident in the Syrian Khan Sheikhoun,
where chemical weapons have been allegedly deployed. However, neither
the US representative, nor the UK or France who have thrown [around]
'chemical attack' accusations, have presented any concrete evidence
to the public or to the OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibiti of
Chemical Weapons]," Konashenkov
said in the MoD statement.
ministry also reiterated Russia’s calls for a "special
mission of experts" to
come to the Syrian city and investigate the incident on the ground.