Allegation of use of chemical weapons in Syria "credible" - OPCW

Posted April 17, 2017

Mr Lavrov said Mr Assad's opponents had "in essence" given guarantees for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to visit the location where at least 87 people died, but the watchdog was refusing to send them. They recounted the horrific aftermath of a gas attack, saying the town of Khan Sheikhoun was struck by regime warplanes.

Assad and his Russian ally dispute both allegations, blaming the Ghouta attack on "militants" and putting forward various scenarios about Khan Sheikhun, including the claim that a rebel chemical weapons storage facility had been bombed, or alternatively that it was a so-called false-flag operation created to attract or provide a pretext for outside intervention. Its findings, expected in 3-4 weeks, will be passed to a joint United Nations-OPCW investigation tasked with identifying individuals or institutions responsible for using chemical weapons. The Syrian government claimed on Thursday that USA claims of its culpability for the incident were "100 per cent fabrication". "They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack", he said.

Two days later, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles against the Shairat military base in central Syria, where the United States believes Syrian airplanes carrying chemical weapons took off.

A father carried his daughter's body from a hospital in Khan Sheikhun, Syria last week, after she was killed by exposure to a nerve agent following a government air strike.

"It wasn't attack because of what happened in Khan Sheikhoun", Assad said of the American missile strike on a Syrian airbase, "it's one event". "You have a lot of fake videos now".

Assad said more U.S. attacks "could happen anytime, anywhere, not only in Syria".

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Ward was also fiercely critical of a major Assad ally: the "outrage is abetted by Russia's continuing efforts to bury the truth and protect the Syrian regime", he said. He was pictured cradling their dead bodies. "I commend the President and his national security team for this decisive response to Assad's appalling and indiscriminate attack against his own people, and I am grateful for each of the members of our armed forces who executed last night's strike".

"The only information the world have had till this moment is published by al Qaeda branch", he said. "No-one has any other information".

And Assad said he could "only allow any investigation when it's impartial, when we make sure that unbiased countries will participate in this delegation in order to make sure that they won't use it for politicised purposes".

However, independent bodies are already investigating. "It had kept itself fighting ISIL and supporting rebel groups on the ground", Challands said.

Government ally Russian Federation on Wednesday vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding Syria cooperate with an global investigation of the attack.