Syria's Assad: Chemical attack was fabrication

Syrian president Bashar al Assad says a deadly toxic gas attack widely blamed on his forces is a "100% fabrication".

Mrs May said: "They are very clear that sarin or a sarin-like substance was used and as our ambassador to the United Nations made clear yesterday, like the United States, we believe it is highly likely that attack was carried out by the Assad regime".

This comes as an worldwide body on chemical weapons control is testing samples from a suspected nerve gas attack that killed at least 87 people in Syria last week and could produce a report on the matter within three weeks, the British delegation to the commission said Thursday.

Mr Johnson said: "The worldwide community sought to make clear that any use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere is unacceptable and that those responsible will face consequences".

Western leaders including US President Donald Trump have accused Assad of being behind last week's attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun, saying his forces unleashed a chemical weapon during an air strike.

The Syrian government denied the accusation.

He also warns that he would only allow an "impartial" external investigation of last week's suspected chemical attack in Idlib province that killed over 80 people, including dozens of children.

"We are deeply anxious by our partners in the U.N. Security Council trying to evade an honest investigation into that episode", he said.

Shortly after, under pressure from the West, Syria agreed to a Russian proposal to give up control of its chemical weapons. "We want Russian Federation to use its influence over the Assad regime to stop the madness and the cruelty we see every day on the ground".

"On April 4, the lifeless bodies of innocent victims, grotesquely contorted and twisted by the nerve agent sarin, tell the real story", Ward said.

The fact finding mission was sent from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague to gather bio-metric samples and interview survivors, sources told Reuters on Thursday. "It is an attempt by him to throw up false flags, create confusion", said department spokesman Mark Toner, alluding to what Assad said in the interview Wednesday.

But Russia, an ally of Syria, blocked a draft UN Security Council resolution which would require President Assad to provide information about air operations and grant inspectors immediate access to air bases.

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.

  • Leroy Wright