Russia says Turkey must leave confirming use of chemical weapons in Syria to OPCW

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 05 : Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Maria Zakharova delivers a speech during a press conference at the Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow, Russia on April 05, 2017 AFP

Russia said on Wednesday that Turkey must leave confirmation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib province last week to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Speaking during a weekly press briefing on Wednesday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mariya Zaharova commented on a recent statement by Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdağ, who said, “It has been determined that sarin gas was used [in Idlib].”

Zaharova said such a statement should be coming from the OPCW, not Turkey’s health minister. According to the Sputnik news website she also added: “I think the Health Ministry of Turkey should be dealing with the testing of seawater and conducting quality control on food stocks before the tourism season starts. The issue of chemical weapons is under the authority of international institutions.”

Ankara on Tuesday said that tests on victims of a suspected chemical attack in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province have confirmed the use of deadly sarin gas.

Dozens of victims were brought to hospitals in Turkey from Idlib for treatment after the attack.

Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, has denied accusations that Damascus was responsible.

Four days later, the US launched Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shayrat air base near Homs, from which Washington believes the Assad regime’s jets launched the chemical attack.

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