Syrian regime used Sarin or similar chemical agent in Idlib attack: watchdog

On April 4, an alleged chemical attack killed dozens of people in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syrias Idlib province.

The announcement comes two weeks after a deadly chemical attack in Syria's Idlib which killed almost 90 people.

The United States launched 59 cruise missiles in a strike meant to damage the infrastructure of the airstrip from which the USA believes the chemical weapons attack was launched. Two other Israeli defense officials, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, confirmed the assessment, the Associated Press reported.

On 4 April, the Syrian province of Idlib became the target of an offensive operation conducted by Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Assad said in an interview with the Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday that the U.N. has not sent anyone yet and blamed Western nations and the United States in particular for not allowing the experts to travel to Syria.

US officials have yet to determine whether a Syrian or Russian jet bombed the hospital because the Syrian Air Force fly Russian-made jets.

The reciprocal evacuation of 3,300 civilians and pro- and anti-regime fighters from four besieged villages in Syria - two in government-held territories; two in rebel-held enclaves - has resumed following a 24-hour delay, according to a report by Al Jazeera, citing the United Kingdom -based monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). The fighting has killed an estimated 400,000 people and displaced half of Syria's population.

In an unprecedented step, the OPCW's executive council in November condemned Syria's use of toxic weapons - the council's first open condemnation of a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The gas, like all chemical weapons, is banned under global law.

Turkish and British tests also have concluded that sarin or a substance similar to the deadly nerve agent was used.

The Syrian regime had agreed to surrender its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013, in a bid to hold off U.S. intervention in retaliation for a chemical attack on an opposition-held Damascus suburb earlier that year which killed hundreds and prompted worldwide outrage.

In 2013, Assad had signed an agreement with Russia, US to destroy all its chemical weapons. He referred to the USA cruise missile strike in Syria as an important example of the new administration's "forthright deeds" against the use of chemical weapons. But doubts began to emerge soon afterward that not all such armaments or production facilities were declared and destroyed.

Former Brig. Gen. Zaher al-Sakat said the Syrian government still possessed hundreds of tons of chemical weapons. Israel welcomed the strike on its northern neighbor. During the six-year conflict, Israel has largely stayed on the sidelines, carrying out occasional air strikes against what it says is the movement of weapons to Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militants.

  • Zachary Reyes