The text below is extracted from a front page New York Times story, on 12 April 2017
At the Kremlin on Tuesday, Mr. Putin spoke emphatically against the American accusations, saying he would request a formal examination by the United Nations and the international community and trying to cast doubt on the Trump administration’s conclusions. Mr. Putin compared the White House’s arguments to the erroneous intelligence findings on weapons of mass destruction that drew the United States into war with Iraq in 2003.
“To my mind, this strongly resembles what happened in 2003 when representatives of the United States showed in the Security Council what was supposed to be chemical weapons found in Iraq,” Mr. Putin said after a meeting with President Sergio Mattarella of Italy. Using an acronym for the Islamic State, he added, “A military campaign in Iraq ensued, and it ended in devastation of the country, growth of the terror threat and emergence of ISIL on the international scene.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Putin repeated his claim that opposition forces had essentially tried to frame the Syrian government by placing chemical weapons in civilian areas and blaming Mr. Assad’s forces.
“We have information from various sources that similar provocations — and I have no other word for that — are being prepared in other regions of Syria, including southern suburbs of Damascus, where they intend to plant certain substance again and accuse official Syrian authorities of using it,” Mr. Putin said.
White House officials also said American intelligence agencies did not believe that the Islamic State or other terrorist groups had sarin gas.
(extract from : “White House Accuses Russia of Cover-Up in Syria Chemical Attack; By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and HELENE COOPER, NYTimes, APRIL 12, 2017; https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/world/middleeast/russia-syria-chemical-weapons-white-house.html)
The Moscow Times meantime reported on April 11, from the Kremlin Press Service,
“Vladimir Putin rejected allegations that the Syrian government recently used chemical weapons to kill more than 70 civilians in the province of Idlib, and said the White House’s military response resembles the events of 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq on unfounded claims that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Putin also warned that anti-government forces in Syria are preparing “provocations” using chemical weapons, intending to blame Damascus, in order to invite more U.S. airstrikes against government targets. The Russian president said these false-flag operations are being planned in Damascus and other areas across the country.
“We have information from different sources that similar provocations — this is the only word for it — are being prepared in different regions of Syria, including in the southern suburbs of Damascus, where they’re planning to spread some kind of substance and blame Syrian officials
(Source: Putin Says Syrian Rebels Plan to Frame Assad for Future Chemical Weapons Attacks; https://themoscowtimes.com/news/putin-says-syrian-rebels-plan-to-frame-assad-for-future-chemical-weapons-attacks-57695
A New York Times investigation (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/14/world/middleeast/us-casualties-of-iraq-chemical-weapons.html) published in October 2014found that the military had recovered thousands of old chemical warheads and shells in Iraq and that Americans and Iraqis had been wounded by them, but the government kept much of this information secret, from the public and troops alike.
These munitions were remnants of an Iraqi special weapons program that was abandoned long before the 2003 invasion, and they turned up sporadically during the American occupation in buried caches, as part of improvised bombs or on black markets.
See: American Firms’ Supplying Iraq’s Chemical Weapons Production
Analysis by Jonathan Tucker, who researched Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs, detailing delivery of American-made precursors for Iraq’s sulfur mustard agent. NewYork Times, OCT.14, 2014 (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/14/world/middleeast/american-firms-supplying-iraqs-chemical-weapons-production.html)
Declassified U.S. Report on Chemical Weapons Attack
The White House released a declassified four-page report that details United States intelligence on the chemical weapons attack, asserting that the Syrian and Russian governments have sought to confuse the world community about the assault through disinformation and “false narratives.”
APRIL 11, 2017https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/04/11/world/middleeast/document-Syria-Chemical-Weapons-Report-White-House.html?_r=0