Syrian public television announced on Monday night that air defenses had shot down missiles over Homs province.
The official Syrian agency SANA retracted Tuesday, April 17, a few hours later to have claimed that the defense syrian air ” at [Had] shot down missiles that had entered the airspace above the Homs province. ” .
“A false alarm concerning an airspace violation during the night triggered the sirens of the air defense” recognizes the state media, citing a military source. “There was no external attack on the Syria ” , she says.
The Pentagon had already denied any involvement of the United States and their allies.
In Syria, after the strikes, an uncertain diplomatic card
This announcement comes three days after the strikes of the United States, the la France and Great Britain against military sites power of Bashar Al-Assad, following the alleged chemical attack of April 7 in the then rebel city of Duma, in eastern Ghouta, at the gates of Damascus. The experts of the International Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which started their investigation Sunday, were waiting to be able to access in Douma.
Syria: the inescapable Western response
The Russia claimed that the arrival of the investigators had been delayed “Security issues” , especially because of the roads ahead be demined. She then assured that their arrival was scheduled for Wednesday. The mission of the OPCW “Has not yet been deployed to Douma” The director of the organization, Ahmet Uzumcu, confirmed in The Hague on Monday in an emergency meeting of the member states of the executive council.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied any ill-will, describing reports of “Hindrance” inspectors of the OPCW to ” unfounded ” and pointing out that Russia was from the beginning “For an impartial investigation” .
Western bombings were carried out despite the presence in Syria of OPCW investigators who began their mission Sunday in the greatest secrecy. While these experts are mandated to investigate the possible use of chemical weapons, they do not have a mandate to identify authors.
Their job promises to be complicated, more than a week after the fact, in a zone passed since under the control of the Syrian regime and the police Russian military. The last rebel fighters of Duma left on Saturday the city in ruins under a surrender agreement signed on April 9, two days after the alleged attack.
The United States also suspects that Russia has manipulated the site of Douma to prevent discovery of evidence. “The Russians may have visited the site of the attack. We are concerned that they have tampered with it in order to thwart the efforts of the OPCW mission to lead an effective investigation » said the US ambassador to the organization, Ken Ward. “This raises serious questions about the ability of the fact-finding mission to make his work ” , he added.
Moscow, a great ally of Damascus, is committed to “Do not interfere” in the work of the OPCW mission, officially invited by the authorities of Damascus. The Syrian regime, meanwhile, denies that chemical weapons were used in the tragedy of Duma, which has left at least 40 dead and hundreds wounded, according to the rescuers.
“Ask for accounts”
The UK for his part urged the OPCW to “To hold the perpetrators accountable” . ” Do not to act for request accounts to the authors will only create the risk of other barbaric uses of chemical weapons, in Syria and elsewhere ” said British Ambassador to The Hague Peter Wilson.
In the Syrian capital, stronghold of the regime, thousands of people invaded Monday the place of the Umayyads, closed to traffic for the occasion, brandishing Syrian flags and portraits of President Assad for denounce Western strikes. From now on, the priority is the total dismantling of the Syrian chemical program, said the French ambassador in The Hague, Philippe Lalliot. “The facts are there and stubborn. They resist the grossest lies and the most absurd denials ” , he said, saying there were no more doubts: “Syria has kept a clandestine chemical program since 2013.”
Withdrawal of the Legion of Honor
That year, after the sarin attack on the Ghouta, which had already claimed several hundred lives according to Westerners, the regime of Bashar Al-Assad ended with rejoin the OPCW under international pressure, and made a formal commitment to to declare all his stocks and never again use chemical weapons.
Paris announced Monday to have initiated the procedure of withdrawal of the Legion of Honor , highest French distinction, which had been awarded to Bashar Al-Assad.
In addition, Americans, French and British have presented to the UN a new project resolution on Syria, aimed at the French ambassador to the UN, François Delattre, “Revive a collective action for the Security Council on the chemical file, for protect the population civil and to work on a regulation policy of the Syrian crisis » .
Three views on the strikes in Syria
After several days of procrastination, the United States and its French and British allies came into action on the night of Friday 13 to Saturday 14 April, bombing several military sites and a research center suspected of hosting the regime’s chemical program. , in Damascus and near Homs. This is a direct response to the alleged chemical attack recently carried out in Douma, a town in Eastern Ghouta, east of the Syrian capital.
As General Joe Dunford, US Chief of Staff, announced that the firing was over and that US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said it was “Point strikes” , Russia, Iran and the Bashar Al-Assad regime denounced the military operation of the Western powers.
The world asked three experts in international relations or specialists from the Middle East to give their point of view on this new sequence in the Syrian war, which entered its eighth year.