Top brass comments on reports of Russian officers being injured in Syria
Russian servicemen were not injured in an attack on the United Nations motor convoy in the Syrian town of Douma but a Syrian security officer was wounded, Major General Yuri Yevtushenko, the chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides in Syria, told reporters on Wednesday.
According to the general, the news about a Russian officer wounded in Douma in the attack on the UN convoy is not true.
“In the exchange of fire, a Syrian security officer sustained a light wound. Russian servicemen were not present at the site of the incident,” he said.
Yevtushenko noted that on April 17 during a trip of UN officials to Douma to monitor on the ground, “a gunfight broke out between Syrian security agencies and unidentified persons at the outer perimeter safeguarding the motor convoy.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the Kommersant daily said citing a source in Damascus that a Russian officer, who was escorting a UN security team in the Syrian town of Douma, was wounded. The publication claimed that UN officials were expected to evaluate security risks in Douma for a mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Meanwhile, Reuters said referring to own sources that the UN security team had come under fire by unidentified persons while carrying out reconnaissance at sites of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma. Later, the information was confirmed by OPCW Director-General Ahmet ·z·mc·.
On Tuesday, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Jaafari said that a UN security team had arrived in Douma to assess risks at the site of the alleged chemical attack. The Syrian ambassador noted that if the experts agreed that the situation was calm, the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) would be able to commence work in Douma.
According to the White Helmets organization, a chemical weapons attack allegedly took place in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7. Russia’s Foreign Ministry slammed this allegation as a bogus story, while the country’s Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets was not a reliable source of information, as they were known for disseminating fake news. On April 9, officers from the Russian center for reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria explored Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons.
On April 14, the United States, the United Kingdom and France carried out a missile attack on Syria’s military and civilian infrastructure facilities. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Syrian air defenses managed to shoot down 71 out of 103 missiles. Washington, London and Paris claimed the strikes were launched in response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma, a suburb of Damascus.