Syrian Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad has accused the United States and United Kingdom of breaking international laws on the use of chemical weapons in warfare by supplying banned irritant agents to their various militant proxy groups operating in the region.
According to Mikdad, chemical agents produced by U.S.-based laboratories were found in arms depots abandoned by militant groups in areas of eastern Damascus suburbs recently liberated by the Syrian government.
"All the special means that have been found include hand grenades and rocket projectiles for grenade launchers, which are supplied with CS and CN irritant agents. The discovered chemical munitions shown in the transparency were produced by Federal Laboratories on the US territory. And the chemical agents were produced by Cherming Defence UK and NonLethal Technologies" Mikdad said.
Irritant agents like the one Mikdad said Syrian forces have discovered are banned for conventional warfare, but allowed for riot fighting domestically.
Mikdad said that it can therefore be “said with confidence” that the U.S. and UK are violating international norms and laws on chemical weapons. “They are supplying terrorists not only with conventional arms but also with banned chemical agents," Mikdad said.
Chemical weapons have been known to be present in the Syrian conflict, with the Syrian government saying that the armed U.S.-backed militants have used them on numerous occasions.
The U.S. however, maintains that the Syrian government itself used Sarin gas last year. The alleged attack was used as a justification for strikes against government targets even though no international investigation had yet been carried out on the matter to confirm the attack's origin.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on her facebook page: "to supply terrorists with toxic agents, hiding behind pictures of killed children, is beyond understanding."
Mark Sloboda spoke with Sputnik Radio's Brian Becker on the show Loud & Clear, and challenged what he sees as a tendency to reject a priori all claims put forth by the Syrian government.
“There is an automatic assumption in the Western media that we just ignore anything and everything that the Syrian government says. Now, we certainly shouldn't take everything they say at face value, any more than we should what the US government, the Russian government, any government says, but to completely reject and not report on what the Syrian government is … a complete failure of journalism,” Sloboda said.
The U.S. has been backing various armed proxy groups that operate in Syria attempting to overthrow the government, led by President Bashar al-Assad. Since retaking the city of Aleppo late last year, the government has steadily regained ground with Russian support, liberating areas of Syria from the so-called Islamic State group, al-Nusra, and the armed factions of the Syrian opposition.