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Brett Edwards @bwiedwards
, 18 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Russia denies that a single chemical weapon attack has been carried out by the Syrian government.
This position in maintained despite a vast body of evidence which has been presented to the contrary by civil-society groups, western governments and in OPCW investigations.
Some 37 cases have been confirmed by the OPCW Fact finding mechanism. There are well over 100 further accusations.
The BBC report quoted by the Russian embassy says there is evidence of at least 106 attacks. Involving chlorine, mustard and nerve agent.
Russia claims not a single attack has been carried out by the Syrian government. Including attacks involving Sarin, which have been linked to the government stockpile by OPCW labs.
A joint UN-OPCW mission would investigate a number of incidents confirmed by the FFM and find that that the Syrian government had used chlorine and Sarin. It also found that Islamic State had used mustard.
Russia has claimed that all of the above incidents have either (or sometimes both) a)not happened b)were carried out as 'false flag' operations
But generally speaking. They have not had to deny many of these incidents as they often occur in batches - and so specific allegations have gone unreported.
Chemical weapons have featured prominently in propaganda for all parties in the conflict. However, the public case that the regime has employed chemical weapons in this conflict ia about as high as it gets in these sorts of situations.
Russia contends that chemical weapon allegations are being used strategically by forces on the groind and western states to punish it.
It is certainly true that chemical weapons allegations tend to damage state reputations - and that western states have sought to leverage those against Russia and the Syrian government.
This then points to the need for caution because of the risk of particularism and confirmation bias.
In the BBC report. A decision was made to revisit allegations on a case by case- based on publicly available evidence. So this is essentially a literature review of authoritative sources such as independent OPCW Investigation reports.
There findings reassert that both nerve agents and chlorine have been used systematically in opposition held areas.
It is clear that propaganda dynamics have generated cynicism. It is also clear that reality is rarely as straight forward as official state narratives
But it is clear that chemical weapon use has been a regular occurence in the Syrian conflict.
And that a strategy of blanket denial of Syrian government use by the Russian government is a grossely unsavoury aspect of Russian diplomacy on this.
Russia points to the most recent Douma incident in this tweet. But it is of course one of dozens of cases which have been investigated and reported upon. Others at even more significant length.
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