Erdogan and Putin back investigation into Syria chemical attack

14 April 2017, 02:51 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad warned that he would only allow an "impartial" external investigation of last week's suspected chemical attack, in an exclusive interview with AFP in Damascus.

In his first interview since the attack, Assad said he believed that the United States was working "hand in glove with the terrorists" and maintained that Syria gave up all its chemical weapons in 2013.

Meanwhile, the United States has responded to the chemical attack by launching a missile strike that targeted a Syrian air base which the Pentagon said was being used to store chemical weapons. We don't know if they were dead or who committed the attack.

"No one has investigated what happened in Khan Sheikhoun.There's no concrete evidence".

Assad said, "It's not clear whether it happened or not".

Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons should both visit the Syrian air base, which the US said had served as a platform for the attack, and the town of Khan Sheikhoun that was hit to get a full and objective picture.

The report says that "pro-opposition social media reports" began suggesting an attack shortly before 7 a.m. local time on April 4, while Russia's explanation maintained an airstrike occurred around noon local time. "You have a lot of fake videos now".

Following the news about the chemical attack, Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo said that he could not imagine that the Syrian government "is so naive and ignorant to be able to do such 'errors'".

Since 2013, there have been continued allegations that chemicals such as chlorine and ammonia have been used against civilians, by both the Syrian government and rebel groups.

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It says that samples already are being tested and the mission is expected to report its findings in three weeks.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to support an investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into the chemical weapons attack in Syria last week, Turkish presidential sources say.

President Assad's denials must contend with the fact that samples from some of the victims were analysed in Turkey and the results indicated a Sarin-like agent was used.

"We have always been and continue to be deeply concerned by the horrific suffering that has been visited on the people of Syria throughout this war".

"Definitely, 100 percent for us, it's fabrication", he said of the incident.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the chemical attack in Syria was one that "shocks the soul".

Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph Younan described the USA missile strike as an "aggression" and castigated the US administration for not waiting for the U.N.to conduct an investigation on what was believed to be a chemical air strike.

The comment is telling because when Mr Trump came to power many thought US-Russia relations would improve from the low point reached during the Obama administration, which saw Russian diplomats expelled during the end of his presidency for alleged election hacking.



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