May says highly likely Syrian government behind poison gas attack

"ISIS represents a clear and present danger, an immediate threat to Europe and ultimately, a threat to the United States homeland", the Secretary of Defence said, adding that the Assad regime "should think long and hard before it again acts so recklessly in violation of worldwide law against the use of chemical weapons".

They reacted angrily on Wednesday after Russia, Syria's key ally, vetoed a draft resolution at the UN Security Council - the eighth time it has done so over the Syrian conflict.

President Donald Trump declared that US-Russia ties "may be at an all-time low", and Mr Tillerson struck a similar tone after a day of talks in Moscow.

Syrian authorities have repeatedly denied using any chemical weapons. CNN also notes that USA officials believe there is "no doubt" that Assad was behind the chemical attack.

While speaking with AFP, Assad also blamed the United States for the attack, claiming the U.S.is in collusion with terrorists.

The April 4 attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, blamed by many governments on the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, killed scores of people and prompted the U.S. to launch a missile strike on a Syrian air base in response.

Witnesses said they saw warplanes attack the town but Russian Federation says a rebel depot of chemical munitions was hit.

"One hundred percent fabrication", Assad said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.

But in Washington, the US State Department said Tillerson did not eliminate the possibility the United States may undertake future strikes.

Britain's delegation to the OPCW tweeted from the executive session that the "Fact Finding Mission is working to gather evidence" and has already started testing samples in a lab.

The Syrian government categorically denied the accusations, which were read by observers as hasty and couldn't be verified in the short time between the incident in Khan Sheikhoun and the launch of the US missile strike. So it defies any logic that on the eve of a Syria conference in Brussels and a week before peace negotiations were to resume, that the Syrian government would suddenly decide to use chemical weapons knowing it would turn the entire world against them.

The fate of a war measure may ultimately boil down to whether Trump's strike against Assad last week was the beginning of a larger campaign against the Syrian leader.

Massie recalled that in 2013, the Obama administration claimed Assad used chemical weapons against civilians, but did not present a compelling case to Congress.

He added that "this outrage is abetted by Russia's continuing efforts to bury the truth and protect the Syrian regime" from consequences of using chemical weapons.

Russia Friday pressed ahead Friday for an "objective" investigation of last week's deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria.

The statement says "the two leaders agreed that the attack in question be investigated by the OPCW, which is an independent organization whose legitimacy is recognized".

He added there was no talk on Wednesday about a possible Trump-Putin meeting.

Rycroft said "samples obtained from Khan Sheikhun" have "tested positive for the nerve agent sarin or a sarin-like substance".

President Vladimir Putin said in an interview published today that U.S. -Russia relations are even worse than when President Trump took office.

  • Salvatore Jensen