Sarin or similar toxin used in Idlib attack: chemical watchdog

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 20, 2017

Earlier French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said intelligence services will provide proof in the coming days that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemical weapons in an attack on April 4.

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.

In response to a question about revoking British citizenship for Assad's wife, Asma, Johnson said individual files could not be discussed but he conceded she was on a United Kingdom government list of sanctioned individuals.

Israel has largely stayed out of the civil war raging in its northern neighbor. But it has carried out a number air strikes against suspected arms shipments bound for Assad's ally Hezbollah in Lebanon, and in retaliation to errant fire into the Golan Heights. But doubts began to emerge soon afterward that not all such armaments or production facilities were declared and destroyed.

"We hope that members of the OPCW Executive Council, as well as of the Technical Secretariat, will show high responsibility at this sensitive time", he said.

"One ton of sarin could easily be used to perpetrate an attack on the scale of the 2013 attack".

The statement points out that an actual WMD attack in Khan Sheikhoun is unlikely given that "there are no requests for special medicaments, antidotes, [or] decontaminants made by civilians or pseudo rescuers".

A fact-finding mission from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an global watchdog, is investigating the April 4 incident and on Wednesday its director-general, Ahmet Uzumcu, said that the results "from four OPCW designated laboratories indicate exposure to sarin or a sarin-like substance". The agency, based in The Hague, Netherlands, is expected to issue a report within two weeks.

In an address to British MPs on Tuesday, Johnson said the UK government has not taken any decision yet but would find it "very difficult" to reject a request from the United States regarding attacks on Syria.

Samples from 10 victims of the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhun analysed at four laboratories "indicate exposure to sarin or a sarin-like substance", said Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

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