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RUSSIA CONFESSES: Missiles fired in Syria chemical were antique Russian missiles from 1960s

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 19th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Russia has confessed to its part in a deadly sarin chemical attack on Syrian civilians last month - in a roundabout way. Russian officials now admit that Russian missiles were used in the attack, but stress that they were all from the 1960s. Henceforth, they were too old for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to have used, and this proves that rebels fighting against his regime were behind the attack.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - They argue that President Assad's military machine would not have used this "ancient junk" for a chemical attack when they have more modern missiles.

The first missile was "a 140-mm M-14-series rocket projectile from an old Soviet-made BM-14-17 multiple-launch system dating from 1952," Russian Pukhov, director of Russia's Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, says.


Official point to the fact that the numbering and Cyrillic letters prove it is from  Sibselmash plant in Novosibirsk, which during the Cold War was "one of the USSR's main producers of various types of unguided rocket projectiles . The code 4-67-179 means the 4th batch in 1967 by factory 179," he said.


Pukhov says it is "unlikely" the USSR had sold chemical weapons to Syria. In any case, "an old munition has clearly been improvised to take chemicals . We know that the Syrians took the BM-14-17 out of service long ago and M-14-series projectiles for that weapon are long past their storage deadlines.


"If they wanted to use chemical munitions then they probably would not have wanted to risk it with antiques like these and instead would have gone for the BM-21 Grad, for which they probably do have chemical munitions.


"But the insurgents could have found this ancient junk after capturing some military storage depot."


The second projectile identified by weapons inspectors looked to be "home made." Pukhov added that "the Syrian army is unlikely to be making and using such primitive munitions."


Russia has since made further claims that it has handled new materials by the Syrian regime which implicate the rebels in the chemical attack outside Damascus on August 21.


"The corresponding materials were handed to the Russian side. We were told that they were evidence that the rebels are implicated in the chemical attack," Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said after meeting top officials in Damascus:.


Russia has expressed suspicion that the chemical attack was a "provocation" staged by the rebels with the aim of attracting Western military intervention in the conflict. Ryabkov also claimed this week's U.N. report into the chemical attack was "politicized, biased and one-sided."


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