US says chemical weapons attack in Syria was 'war crime'

Syrian presidency's press office shows Syrian President Bashar al Assad during an interview with AFP in the capital Damascus

After the vote, I asked Staffan de Mistura the U.N. Special Envoy for Syria why Syria said that its chemical weapons stockpiles had been destroyed and verified by the U.N. His response was telling.

Assad has dismissed the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhun as a "fabrication" to justify USA missile strikes against an airbase in his country. It was Assad s first since the alleged April 4 chemical weapons attack prompted a USA cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base.

"The west, mainly the United States, is hand in glove with the terrorists", he said in an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP). "They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack", added Assad, who has been in power for 17 years.

Denouncing a "very barbaric" attack, Trump ordered a strike that saw 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles slam into the airbase in central Syria from where Washington accused Assad's forces of launching the attack. The day after the attack on April 4, which killed 89 people and injured dozens more, CNN interviewed victims who had fled over the border to Turkey. It said that its air strikes hit an arms depot containing toxic gas and blamed the rebels for storing such chemical materials.

"It's certainly possible. I think it's probably unlikely, and I know they are doing investigations into that right now", President Trump said during a news conference Wednesday. Russian Federation has alleged that the victims were killed by toxic agents from a rebel chemical arsenal hit by Syrian warplanes.

The British delegation tweet says that Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu told Thursday's hastily convened meeting of its executive council that the "Fact Finding Mission is working to gather evidence" about the April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhoun that killed almost 90 people.

"We do not use chemical weapons against terrorists or our own people".

He also reiterated his call for any countries that were signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention and which were "in a position to do so to share with the Secretariat any relevant information without delay".




In the lead up to the government takeover of the rebel-held half of Aleppo last previous year, Human Rights Watch reported on the government's "systematic" use of chlorine gas, marking at least eight incidents in which military helicopters dropped the chemical into residential areas.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, which include Arab fighters, say they are working to clear the militants out of the Jalab Valley, north of Raqqa.

He accused Russian Federation of siding with "a murderous, barbaric criminal, rather than with their worldwide peers."Safronkov, who demanded Rycroft look at him while he was speaking, responded: "I can not accept that you insult Russian Federation". When it came time for questions, Tillerson and Lavrov spoke as if they were living in different universes.

Before arriving in Moscow, the United States media reported that the White House had declassified intelligence that "conclusively" showed the Syrian government forces had carried out the toxic attack.

Russian Federation has condemned the USA airstrikes as "an illegal aggression" and said that accusations against the Syrian government are unwarranted without proper investigation. "We gave up our arsenal three years ago", he added referring to a deal the USA helped broker.

On Wednesday, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution demanding a probe - prompting Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to say Moscow had put itself "on the wrong side of the argument".

Ugh. Sure we should want relations with Russian Federation to be such that Putin doesn't think he can run amok around the world and the USA won't make it hurt.

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