Watchdog says 'incontrovertible' sarin used in Syria attack

While we are all feeling a gut-level satisfaction that the USA finally bombed Syria - sending a message to Bashar al-Assad, whose brutal repressions turned peaceful protests in favor of greater democracy into a civil war that is destroying his country - two authoritative assessments examine the intelligence that concluded that Assad was responsible for the horrific sarin attack on April 4.

In an address to British MPs on Tuesday, Johnson said the UK government has not taken any decision yet but would find it "very difficult" to reject a request from the United States regarding attacks on Syria.

Johnson also commanded UK's own efforts in investigating the chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun, claiming that it is "thanks in large measure to UK diplomacy, the United Nations now has a joint investigative mechanism with a mandate to identify any party responsible for chemical attacks in Syria".

"We know from shell fragments in the crater that not only had sarin been used, but sarin carrying the specific chemical signature of sarin used by the Assad regime".

The missile strike was the first direct U.S. military action against Assad's forces since the start of Syria's civil war six years ago and precipitated a downward spiral in ties between Washington and Moscow.

Israel has largely stayed out of the civil war raging in its northern neighbor.

Israel has largely stayed out of the fighting, though it has carried out a number of airstrikes on suspected Iranian weapons shipments it believed were bound for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The entire stockpile was said to have been dismantled and shipped out under global supervision in 2014 and destroyed.

Earlier this week, Assad's former chemical weapons research chief told Britain's The Telegraph that Syria had "at least 2,000 tons" of chemical weapons before the war and only declared 1,300.

Both the Syrian and Russian governments have denied that Assad's government uses or possess banned chemical weapons, but analysis by doctors treating victims has found evidence of nerve agents.

  • Joanne Flowers