Chemical weapons experts in Turkey to investigate; UK confirms sarin use

14 April, 2017, 10:54 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied allegations that he was responsible for the deadly chemical attack that took place in Khan Sheikhoun last week, calling the claims a "fabrication".

It's "100 percent fabrication", he added.

The United States and its allies say the Syrian military carried out the Idlib attack, something Syria has already denied.

A joint investigation by the OPCW and the United Nations previous year had also established that Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad's forces carried out at least two chemical attacks and that DAESH had used mustard gas as a weapon in the conflict that has ravaged Syria since 2011.

After President Barack Obama's 2012 "red line" warning to Syria about using chemical weapons, Syria launched a chemical attack in August 2013.

He added he would only allow an investigation into the attack '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'.

A showdown vote by the Security Council is planned for later Wednesday on a proposed United Nations resolution that would compel the Syrian regime to provide helicopter pilots and flight logs from the day of the attack to outside investigators.

In a phone call, Erdogan stressed to his Russian counterpart that the use of chemical weapons was a crime against humanity, they said.

"Apart from anything else, we believe it's only the regime that has the capability to make such an attack", May said.

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"Yes, this issue was touched upon", he said when asked if the two leaders discussed the recent chemical weapons incident in Syria.

The campaign has come at a cost to the predominantly Kurdish forces, which receive ground and air support from the US military and other allies.

The coalition said Thursday one its air strikes had accidentally killed 18 members of the Syrian alliance south of Tabqa, a strategically important town on the Euphrates River near Raqa.

Eighty-nine people were killed and others injured in the April 4 gas attack in Idlib province.

The U.S. blamed the Syrian government for launching the attack, but Russian Federation claimed that the victims were killed by toxic agents released from a rebel chemical arsenal hit by Syrian warplanes.

The attack killed 14 people, including nine civilians, and destroyed a material storage depot, a training facility, a canteen, six MiG-23 aircraft in fix hangars and a radar station. They said ISIS does not have chemical weapons.

United Kingdom analysis of samples from the Syria chemical attack has detected sarin or a sarin-like substance, Britain's UN ambassador has said.

But that effort ultimately fell short, and the US has assessed that the Syrian government has restarted its chemical weapons program.

Following a meeting between USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, President Trump warned relations were "at an all-time low".

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