President of the Syrian regime Bashar Al-Assad has accused the world's international chemical weapons watchdog of faking and falsifying a report revealing a chemical attack by the regime "just because the Americans wanted them to do so."
Assad made the comments to the Italy-based Rai News 24 yesterday after the director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fernando Arias voiced support for the report on the attack that took place in the suburb of Douma in eastern Damascus last year.
The report was issued in March this year by the organisation's investigative mission which discovered "reasonable grounds" that deadly chlorine was used in the attack.
Arias has maintained that the report was written after a thorough investigation and efficient analysis of all the information, and stated that he stands firm on the "impartial and professional conclusions reached by the fact-minding mission."
While the investigation was not conducted to identify any actor or player to blame for the attack, the US, Britain, and France have repeatedly accused the Syrian regime and launched air strikes on regime targets as a result.
Assad, however, has repeatedly denied the accusations against his regime and any connection to chemical weapons attacks throughout the Syrian conflict since 2011.
"That's what the OPCW organisation did – they faked and falsified the report, just because the Americans wanted them to do so," Assad said in English during the interview yesterday. "So, fortunately, this report proved that everything we said during the last few years, since 2013, is correct."
He also touched on a letter by a member of the OPCW team leaked by WikiLeaks, allegedly affirming that the conclusion the report came to was biased: "We were right, they were wrong. This is proof, this is concrete proof regarding this issue… the OPCW is biased, is being politicised and is being immoral."
The use of chemical weapons by the regime and opposition groups against civilian populations has been a major and contentious issue throughout the Syrian civil war.
Despite Syria agreeing to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile in 2013 under a deal brokered by Russia and the US, chlorine has still been found to have been "systematically and repeatedly" used as a weapon of war within the country.