Israel says Assad still has chemical weapons

21 Avril, 2017, 02:55 | Author: Claudine Rigal
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Sarin or a similar banned toxin was used in an attack in Syria's Idlib province on April 4 that killed almost 90 people, the global chemical weapons watchdog says.

The Syrian president has strongly denied his forces were behind the gas attack, although Israel, along with the USA and much of the global community, has accused the Syrian regime of carrying out the strike.

But Moscow, the closest ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is leading efforts to sideline the OPCW's existing fact-finding mission by calling for a new "full-scale and thorough investigation".

In an exclusive interview last week with AFP in Damascus, Assad said the suspected chemical attack was a "fabrication" to justify a United States missile strike on Syrian forces.

Another expert, John Gilbert, a senior science fellow at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said that the general's estimate is "fully possible" if two chemicals that produce sarin when combined-fluorine-phosphorous and isopropyl-were part of the undeclared stockpile.

The assessment, based on Israeli intelligence, was revealed to reporters two weeks after a chemical attack in Syria killed at least 90 people.

Israel says Assad still has chemical weapons

Its ally Russian Federation, meanwhile, said an air strike hit a rebel depot full of chemical munitions - but this suggestion has been widely rejected.

Mr Assad claims the poison gas attack is a fabrication used to justify the USA air strike. Israel welcomed the strike on its northern neighbor. According to US estimates, more than 1,000 people were killed. Syria began developing chemical weapons in the 1980s with the aim of using them against enemy states, including its neighbor Israel.

The Post, citing a defense official, also said the regime used the chemical weapons out of frustration after failing to make meaningful advances on the ground despite support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013.

Chemical weapons such as chlorine gas, mustard gas and sarin are banned by most nations.

The entire stockpile was said to have been dismantled and shipped out under worldwide supervision in 2014 and destroyed. However, doubts soon emerged over whether all of the regime's armaments or production facilities were declared and destroyed.

The UN said sarin had been used in that attack, which killed hundreds of people in the Ghouta agricultural belt to the west and east of the capital. "It could also be used for roughly 10 attacks of a similar size to the recent Khan Sheikhoun attack", he said.

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