Sarin or similar used in Idlib: watchdog

Syrian children receive treatment in the town of Maaret al-Noman following a suspected chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhun a nearby rebel-held town in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province

Syrian children receive treatment in the town of Maaret al-Noman following a suspected chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhun a nearby rebel-held town in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province

It is hard to believe that President Bashar Assad had no knowledge of the deadly chemical attack on Syrian civilians in early April, a senior Israeli intelligence officer said on Wednesday. A senior US official says the USA has concluded that Russian Federation knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week.

The suspected chemical attack was a "fabrication" to justify a United States missile strike on Syrian regime forces, Assad said in an exclusive interview last week with AFP in Damascus.

US President Donald Trump characterized the strike as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government troops while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was a violation of the worldwide law. Israel welcomed the strike on its neighbor. Thus, the criticism that Assad continues to launch air strikes, from the base we hit or from elsewhere, misses the point.

Former Brig. Gen. Zaher al-Sakat said the Syrian government still possessed hundreds of tons of chemical weapons.

"So, for us, there was no gas attack and no gas depot, it was a false flag play just to justify the attack on the Shairat base". Iran and Hezbollah, both bitter enemies of Israel, along with Russian Federation have sent forces to support Assad.

Almost two-dozen Syrian jets were destroyed at Shayrat Airbase during the cruise missile strike, launched from the USS Porter and USS Ross, two destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean. It came after a joint UN-OPCW investigation concluded in October that the Syrian air force had dropped chlorine barrel-bombs from helicopters on three opposition-held villages in 2014 and 2015.

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"We have elements that will enable us to show that the regime knowingly used chemical weapons", he added.

The Syrian government has asked the United Nations to send experts to investigate the alleged chemical attack in Idlib province, but the request remains unanswered due to pressure from US, UK and France, Syrian president Bashar Assad told media at a press conference. I will save you the diatribe here, you can read exactly what I wrote as to why we shouldn't strike Assad before the cruise missiles were fired, and why it was a hollow and sickeningly counter-productive decision to do so after.

On Tuesday morning a residential district in Chan Sheikhun in Idlib province was bombed and poison gas was released.

Syria President Bashar Assad said that his government had never used weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, against the Syrians, and all the chemical weapons which had been stored by the government before the deadly incident in East Gouta in 2013 had been destroyed under the OPCW's supervision. Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013. However, doubts soon emerged over whether all of the regime's armaments or production facilities were declared and destroyed.

Meanwhile, Dan Kaszeta, a UK-based chemical weapons expert, told the AP that the Israeli estimate of Assad's chemical weapons cache appeared to be conservative, yet it was enough to be highly lethal.

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