Zakharova: NATO Actually Used Social Media Posts to Direct Its Air Strikes in Syria
— Let's talk to Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson. Maria, thanks for joining us. Explain us, please, what's going on. The strike was delivered at the night following which the OPCW mission was to start working in Douma.
Maria Zakharova: I'll be concise. The international law has been bluntly and impudently violated. No arguments were provided. Any possibility of a full-scale OPCW mission to the region has been dashed. Together with its 'friends', the USA stroke Damascus. Your correspondent has just said that in the morning in Washington a report to the president and other US politicians will be drafted. I guess what will be helpful for them is the per cent by which the approval ratings of presidents Trump, Macron and others who joined this absolutely illegitimate and illegal move soared over the past night.
Another major issue I'd like to tackle is as follows. Your correspondent has just said the US TV started to deny the numbers of the missiles shot down, claiming that the data isn't trustworthy as it was provided by a Syrian state-run channel. According to the statements by US officials and an allegedly classified report of the French special services that has just been made public, the reason for the strike was the information on the media and social networks. While mass media bear at least some responsibility for what they diffuse, the truthfulness of the information posted on social networks is out of question.
— Maria, is it fair to say that the US doesn't seek an investigation in any way, given that the OPCW experts were to visit the area the next day? What will be our position in the UN Security Council? Breaking news: Germany didn't join the airstrike, but Merkel has just publicly supported the coalition's attack.
— I'd like to explain why the responsibility is shifted on the media this time, why the reason for the attack is the data diffused by the media instead of their intelligence data.
Everybody remembers how the bombing of Iraq began. Colin Powell was framed with that test tube. Nowadays, there are no more such fools who could show up in the UNSC with test tubes. This time, the US, British, French and generally European mass media have been made fools. We said long ago that the information diffused by the Western media should be made at least a bit realistic. They just can't print the false stories every day, like the factory of lies, with the pictures of children, women, other civilians who either have nothing to do with the situation in Syria or were attacked by terrorists, not Damascus.
We all remember the eminent Ms. Amanpour, CNN, who arrived in Moscow in 2016 and showed the world the photo of a Syrian boy who had been allegedly attacked by Assad's troops. Several months later Russian media found the boy and his parents who turned out to have been attacked by extremists and militants. It's the case now. We witness a nexus, a gang, organized by the Western political actors and their propaganda. That's why both in classified French reports and the statements by US officials, the media reports are number one in the list of evidence.
— Maria, while you were talking, we received a message from your counterparts in the French MFA. The head of the French diplomacy states that the majority of Syria's chemical arsenal was destroyed as a result of the strike. How are we supposed to fight for truth and justice in these conditions?
— Now, I'd like to say that, according to this report, which I glimpsed at 10 minutes ago, and I emphasize that this is a classified French report, which was just published, Damascus has been conducting some secret chemical weapon program since 2013. Where was France? Where were their Ministries' spokespeople? Where was their President? Where was the French ambassador to the UN Security Council? Why did they keep silence all this time? France is an active player in the international relations. France has the opportunity to declare its position at the OPCW. Why did they hide this information for all these years, if it is allegedly true that Damascus has been conducting secret chemical weapon studies in their labs since 2013?
What we observe today thanks to the media and the social networks is a clear example of how, in front of our eyes, proceeding from absolute lies, decisions that are threaten the civilians' lives and safety are made.
— Maria, tell us, we'll probably need a lot of diplomatic wisdom to build these relations. And we will have to build relations with such partners, even though we witness obvious violations of the international law. Or do we rely upon the fact that Americans have displayed conformity since all the military reiterated that they were striking deliberately in an odd manner so that the Russian military weren't hit, and eventually nobody died, which matters?
— Russian MOD has commented on the striking methods. My goal is to explain you the mystification and the manipulation of the public opinion, which the Western politicians are doing. During the past night we were all up since the active phase of the strikes, we saw with our own eyes the international law being ignored again. This showed total disrespect towards such international institutions as the UNSC, the UN.
The entire idea of a civilized communication between countries is discredited. We're not talking about those countries that became wealthy over the past 20 years, bought modern weapons and began shooting while being completely ignorant about human rights, democracy, and civilized communication norms. No, we're talking about the countries that have given democracy to the world.
They actively exploit the idea of human rights. I want to remind you that these strikes that hurt so many people occurred under human rights slogans. Thank God there weren't that many victims, as we can see from the latest data. But, they're people. If they always tell us that each life counts, aren't Syrians people?
— Thank you. That was Maria Zakharova, the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.