Gas attack a 'fabrication' - Syria's Assad
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 16, 2017,
Apr 16, 2017, 1:57
The Syrian government's suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians last week amounts to a "war crime", the US State Department has said.
Johnson had unsuccessfully attempted to convince foreign ministers at a G7 meeting in Italy this week to agree to impose new sanctions on Russian Federation if it refused to cut ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Assad warned that he would only allow an "impartial" external investigation of last week's suspected chemical attack, in an exclusive interview with AFP in Damascus.
Assad also claimed that the alleged chemical attacks in Khan Sheikhoun were all a "fabrication" to give the USA military justification for a strike. We gave up our arsenal a few years ago.
The meeting was called to discuss the April 4 attack on the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun that killed almost 90 people.
Eighty-nine people were killed and others injured in the April 4 gas attack in Idlib province.
After last Tuesday's chemical attack, photographs of either deceased or horribly injured children began to go viral throughout the internet and social media, but Assad denies the legitimacy of these as well.
"We find it necessary to conduct a thorough, objective, impartial and professional investigation and will insist, in the framework of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and in NY, in the United Nations, on sending inspectors to the site of the incident as well as to the airport, where, according to our colleagues' claims, shells with chemical weapons had been equipped".
Even Assad's staunch ally, Russia, accepts that the deaths were caused by chemical weapons. "These have tested positive for the nerve agent Sarin, or a Sarin-like substance", the delegation said during a special session at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.
The April 4 attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun killed scores of people and prompted the United States to launch a cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base in response, its first direct assault on the Assad government in the six-year-old conflict.
"I couldn't believe at the beginning that Assad would use these weapons on his people", he said.
In his AFP interview, Assad accused the West, particularly the United States, of being "hand-in-glove with the terrorists" over the Khan Sheikhoun incident. Images and video published shortly after the incident showed dozens of men, women, and children gasping for air, convulsing, and foaming at the mouth.
"We agreed with the Russian side that it is crucially important to conduct an independent and unbiased investigation..."
"We don't know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhun", he said.
That conclusion was supported by rights group Amnesty International, which said victims were "very likely" to have been exposed to a compound such as Sarin.
Syria's Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Ja'afari address Security Council after a resolution vote condemning Syria's use of chemical weapons failed to pass, Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at U.N. headquarters.