Assad speaks on chemical attack

Nick Mcbride
April 18, 2017

Yesterday, Russia, Syria's key ally, went against the US, France and the United Kingdom by vetoing a UN draft resolution that would have required Assad's government to take part in an investigation into the attack.

The entire incident was "fabricated" and "unconvincing", he claimed.

In his first interview since the April 4 attack prompted a U.S. airstrike on a Syrian airbase, Mr Al Assad said his army had given up all its chemical weapons and that Syrian military power was not affected by the USA strike. "We gave up our arsenal a few years ago".

"Even if we have them, we wouldn't use them, and we have never used our chemical arsenal in our history".

Eighty-nine people were killed and others injured in the April 4 chemical attack in Idlib province.

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 US military action.

Syria and its most powerful ally, Russia, have vehemently denied the accusations, saying that terrorist groups were behind the deaths.

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Ambassador Francois Delattre said "with this attack, the Syrian regime has plumbed new depths of horror". Bolivia also voted no, but the South American country does not have veto power like Russian Federation .

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U.S. Ambassador Ward insisted it was a deliberate attack that amounted to "a direct affront to the Chemical Weapons Convention and, indeed, a direct affront to human decency, carried out by a State Party" to the OPCW, according to the text of his speech that was posted on the organization's website. They recounted the horrific aftermath of a gas attack, saying the town of Khan Sheikhoun was struck by regime warplanes.

"You have a lot of fake videos now", he said.

"Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists". Experts have said that only the Syrian regime is likely to have the capability to produce Sarin, a volatile substance with a very short shelf life. "We don't know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun, were they dead at all?" he said.

Syria joined the OPCW in 2013 under severe global pressure following a deadly chemical attack on a Damascus suburb. "They were there. So we'll find out", he said.

The war has drawn in a wide of range of global powers, from Russian Federation and Iran in support of the regime, to Western nations, Turkey and Arab Gulf states in support of various rebel forces.

Assad said no proper investigation had been possible because the area was controlled by Nusra Front.

Erdogan's office said in a statement that the two leaders held a telephone conversation on Thursday, during which the Turkish leader stressed that the use of chemical weapons "is the greatest crime against humanity".

Other reports by VgToday

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