Published: Mon, April 17, 2017
Global | By Doris Richards

Syria's Assad: Chemical attack was fabrication

Syria's Assad: Chemical attack was fabrication

Syrian president Bashar Assad insisted that his military was not responsible for the incident and claimed the attack was a "fabrication" to justify the USA missile strike.

Assad also said Syria's military had given up all chemical weapons, AFP said on its Twitter account, quoting remarks in an interview with the Syrian president.

Russia, Syria and Iran strongly warned the United States Friday against launching new strikes on Syria and called for an worldwide investigation of the chemical weapons attack there that killed almost 90 people.

In an exclusive interview with AFP news agency, Assad explains that the attack was part of a planned campaign which came as a pretext for the American retaliatory missile strike. White House officials say they drew on reports from aid agencies, video evidence, laboratory analysis of samples from victims and classified intelligence to draw that conclusion.

The stockpile was destroyed in an operation overseen by the chemical-weapons watchdog, but ever since there have been questions about whether Assad had declared all his weapons. Turkey welcomed the US attack on the Syrian airbase after the chemical attack, but Tillerson's talks in Moscow led to a kind of deal between the two world powers that no such unilateral attacks would take place in the future without consultations.

The OPCW's Fact Finding Mission in Syria investigates alleged attacks, but does not apportion blame. "We have never used our chemical arsenal in our history".

"We consider it unacceptable to analyse events from a distance", Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow with his counterparts from Syria and Iran.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson look at each other as they shake hands after the news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Idlib's opposition-run health authority says 89 people, including 33 children and 18 women, died in the suspected nerve gas attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.

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".

Syria's president intensified on Thursday a counterattack against Western accusations that he had ordered a lethal chemical-weapons attack last week on civilians, asserting that videos of victims, including dead and convulsing children, had been faked.

The story was that this was an airstrike with conventional weapons, and chemicals at the scene belonged to rebel groups.

Moscow vetoed a Western draft United Nations resolution Wednesday, saying it failed to mention the need to inspect the area of the attack. Syria denies using nerve gas, the BBC reported.

"It's not clear whether it happened or not", Assad said.

"Definitely, 100 percent for us, it's fabrication".

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