26 September 2013
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow has "very good" evidence that the type of sarin gas used in a deadly chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21 was homemade, lending credence to assertions that Syrian rebels were responsible.
In an interview with "The Washington Post," Lavrov said the conclusions of a Russian investigation into the Damascus attack, as well as an incident in Aleppo on March 19, are "broadly available."
He said Russia does not have any intelligence reports that it has not already shared.
"This evidence is not something revolutionary," Lavrov said. "It's available on the Internet."
He also said Moscow does not want to "overdramatize" the cancellation of a Moscow summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month.
He said bilateral relations are "broader and larger than emotions and mutual grudges."
Assad Says Damascus Braced For U.S. Strike
Meanwhile, in related news, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says a U.S. strike against his country is still likely, despite an ongoing plan to destroy his regime's chemical weapons under international supervision.
Assad told Venezuelan television that U.S. policy "is to go from one aggression to the next," mentioning U.S. involvement in conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
"This time, the pretext is chemical weapons; next time, it will be something else," he said.
"However, he added that Syria remains committed to the convention against chemical weapons it signed under a U.S.-Russian deal and sees "no obstacles" to its implementation.
But Assad said there is a "possibility" that "terrorists" -- a term used by his regime to refer to the rebels -- will prevent the international experts' from gaining access to "certain places."