Lavrov: 'Thorough investigation into Syria chemical attack necessary'

Lavrov said the USA strike on the Syrian base has undermined peace efforts in Syria and reflected Washington's focus on ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

"You have a lot of fake videos now", he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia wants to see the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapon (OPCW) and the United Nations sending inspectors for the investigation into the incident with the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

A statement by the army, flashed on Thursday by Syrian state TV, said the incident in the eastern Deir al-Zor province proved that Islamic State- and al-Qaeda-linked militants "possess chemical weapons".

President Assad's denials must contend with the fact that samples from some of the victims were analysed in Turkey and the results indicated a Sarin-like agent was used.

Lavrov further underlined that the USA missile strike against the Shayrat Air Base played "a highly provocative role.".

The U.S. accuses the Syrian government of deliberately launching the deadly chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4.

"We will keep monitoring the issue, since the only possible reason for using military force on the territory of Syria is to fight terrorism", Lavrov said. "They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack", Assad said in his first comments since the US missile strikes in response to the chemical attack.

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 politicized purposes".

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. Their timing and location have been verified by independent researchers.

Trump said, "Today's chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and can not be ignored by the civilized world".

But in Washington, the U.S. State Department said Tillerson did not eliminate the possibility the United States may undertake future strikes. It has used its veto power at the UN Security Council on several occasions since the civil war began six years ago to prevent sanctions against Damascus.

However, both the Turkish and Russian leaders have agreed, in a telephone conversation, to support the OPCW investigation.

But OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu told the meeting at the group's headquarters in The Hague that the preliminary assessment of OPCW experts investigating the alleged chemical attack was "that this was a credible allegation". Central Command says the incident occurred on Tuesday.

The SDF says it wants to isolate Raqqa before attacking it.

Lavrov said Moscow has asked Washington about the objective of the buildup and received assurances that the US troops were deployed there to cut supply lines between the Islamic State group factions in Syria and Iraq. An estimated 300,000 people are in the city.

  • Zachary Reyes