MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Ministry called for a fair and professional investigation into reports that troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had carried out a chemical weapon attack near Damascus.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Wednesday circumstances around the reports, including the presence of U.N. inspectors in the country, suggested that attack could be a provocation by the opposition.
"All this cannot but suggest that once again we are dealing with a pre-planned provocation. This is supported by the fact that the criminal act was committed near Damascus at the very moment when a mission of U.N. experts had successfully started their work of investigating allegations of the possible use of chemical weapons there," Lukashevich said in a statement.
(Reporting By Thomas Grove; Editing by Andrew Heavens)