Syria's Assad: Chemical Weapons Attack Is '100 Percent Fabrication'

Assad's first interview after chemical attack

Syria's President Bashar-al Assad says reports of a chemical attack by his forces were "100% fabrication".

According to media reports Assad said in an interview, his first since the alleged April 4 attack prompted a USA air strike on Syrian forces, "Definitely, 100% for us, it's fabrication".

The attack, which US officials believe took place with the knowledge of high-ranking Syrian government officials, prompted Trump to launch the USA military's first direct assault on an Assad-linked target since Syria's war began six years ago.

"Even if we have them, we wouldn't use them", Assad said in his first interview since the bombing of Khan Sheikhoun. But after Russian Federation, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, intervened militarily in support of the Syrian government in 2015 much of the political will to act was lost.

Russia's foreign minister says Moscow expects the United Nations' chemical weapons watchdog to conduct an extensive probe into last week's chemical attack in Syria.

It was the deadliest such incident since a sarin gas attack killed hundreds of people in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus in 2013, prompting threats of USA military action.

The British delegation to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said United Kingdom scientists have tested samples from Khan Sheikhun and the samples "tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, or a sarin-like substance". "They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack", Assad said in his first comments since the USA missile strikes in response to the chemical attack.

"They admitted only to 1,300 tonnes, but we knew in reality they had almost double that", said Sakat, who was one of the most senior figures in the country's chemical program.

Russia: Has never publicly acknowledged any such attacks by Assad's forces and has tried for the past 18 months to help him expand his authority in Syria. And U.S. analysts say the timeline and strike location suggested by Russian Federation don't match reports from the ground or satellite imagery.

Claiming that there are " a lot of fake videos now", he insisted that his government gave up all chemical weapons in 2013.

The missile strike came as a response to the alleged chemical attack in Idlib on April 4 and targeted what Washington claims was a starting location for the attack.

"We know they have the expertise". Spokesman Mark Toner also ridiculed the Syrian president's comments, describing them as "vintage Assad".

The UN-OPCW investigators have blamed at least three chemical weapons attacks on Syria and one on Islamic State extremists.

The strains in ties were clear as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson received a frosty reception Wednesday on a visit to Moscow, where he said there was now "a low level of trust" between the two countries.

Turkey, which treated numerous wounded, says it has "concrete evidence" Sarin was used.

Lavrov said he emphasized the need for a wide-ranging OPCW probe during Wednesday's talks in Moscow with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, suggesting that Western nations, Russian Federation and some regional powers could dispatch additional experts to join the investigation.

But he said his forces had not been diminished by the United States strike.



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