BEIRUT (AP) – Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview aired on Monday that the global chemical weapons watchdog has faked and falsified a report over an attack near the capital Damascus last year “just because the Americans wanted them to do so”.
Assad’s comments to Italy’s Rai News 24 came after the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expressed confidence in the report into the deadly attack in Syria.
OPCW’s chief Fernando Arias supported the report issued in March by a fact-finding mission from the watchdog that found “reasonable grounds” that chlorine was used in a deadly attack on the eastern Damascus suburb of Douma.
The mission wasn’t mandated to attribute blame for the attack, but the US, Britain and France blamed Syria and launched punitive airstrikes. Syria denied responsibility.
Assad spoke in the week of a letter purportedly by a member of the OPCW team released by secret-spilling website WikiLeaks called its conclusions biased.
“That’s what the OPCW organisation did – they faked and falsified the report, just because the Americans wanted them to do so,” Assad said, speaking in English. “So, fortunately, this report proved that everything we said during the last few years, since 2013, is correct.”