We will prove sarin attack in Syria

Syria has blamed terrorist groups for the attack, and Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that the attack was carried out by "forces" trying to frame the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A poison hazard danger sign is seen in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria's Idlib province on April 5.

The intelligence official said the American missile strike on a Syrian air force base in response to the chemical attack was not a strategic turning point in the ongoing six-year Syrian Civil War, but rather "a combat development". The strike in Syria's northern Idlib province killed at least 90.

The U.S. and its allies have accused the Syrian government of being behind the attack. The April 7 U.S. airstrikes destroyed almost 20 percent of Syria's functional aircraft, according to U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

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).

United Kingdom scientists had already found that sarin or a similar chemical had been used in the attack, having tested samples smuggled from the site.

France yesterday said it will provide proof within days that president Bashar al-Assad's regime carried out the attack.

"100 percent certain that the attack was "directly ordered and planned by Assad"," Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on April 6, Reuters reported today.

On Thursday, the Russian army questioned the data gathered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which suggested the victims of the attack were exposed to sarin gas or to a similar neurotoxic substance. This amounted to 1,300 tons of agent and their precursors, the materials needed to weaponize the chemicals.

"There were rumors some had fallen into Islamic State [militant group's] hands. Also at the time some of the sites where they were stored [were] besieged...and the OPCW just couldn't get to them to verify them", he says.

But Bretton-Gordon says it also appeared likely Assad had held some of the weapons back. Despite frequently using its propaganda tools against its mostly Arab neighbours, Israel has taken only a limited role in the Syrian civil war, and comments regarding chemical stockpiles, though clearly lacking in evidence, appear consistent with the views of several other worldwide powers.

  • Leroy Wright