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Syrian Foreign Minister Denies Using Chemical Weapons

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Thursday denied his government used chemical weapons on a rebel-held town in the Idlib province.

“I stress to you once again: the Syrian army has not, did not, and will not use this kind of weapons – not just against our own people, but even against the terrorists that are targeting our civilians indiscriminately,” Muallem said at a press conference in Damascus, as reported by Al-Jazeera.

Muallem went on to give the same account of the incident that Russia has insisted upon, claiming that Syrian warplanes “attacked an arms depot belonging to al-Nusra Front,” which is al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

The Foreign Minister claimed the Nusra Front, ISIS, and other organizations “continue to store chemical weapons in urban and residential areas.”

He dismissed calls for an international investigation by saying Syria’s previous experience with “politicized” investigations was “not encouraging” because “they come out of Damascus with certain indications which then change at their headquarters.”

Walid also went out of his way to slam Turkey, evidently in response to Turkish denunciation of the attack in Idlib, and Turkey’s treatment of victims from the chemical weapons deployment. Turkish authorities have said autopsies of people killed in the attack revealed signs of chemical weapons exposure.

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