Syria chemical attack investigator moves on to new United Nations post

Posted April 18, 2017

A joint investigation by the OPCW and the United Nations a year ago had also established that Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad's forces carried out at least two chemical attacks and that DAESH had used mustard gas as a weapon in the conflict that has ravaged Syria since 2011.

The UK result confirmed earlier testing by Turkish authorities that concluded sarin had been used for the first time on a large scale in Syria's civil war since 2013.

A planned vote on a resolution collapsed Thursday night at the United Nations as the U.S. launched missiles on a Syrian base believed to be responsible for the chemical attack. "Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists".

The suspected attack killed at least 87 people, including many children, and images of the dead and of suffering victims provoked global outrage.

By implication, he added that the report was not reviewed and released by competent intelligence experts - "unless they were motivated by factors other than concerns about the accuracy of the report".

The Syrian army on Thursday said the USA -led anti-terror coalition struck a chemical weapons depot controlled by the Islamic State (IS) group in eastern Syria, killing hundreds, including civilians.

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A former US official knowledgeable about the episode told Truthout that the Russians had actually informed their USA counterparts in Syria of the Syrian military's plan to strike the warehouse in Khan Sheikhoun 24 hours before the strike.

However, it noted that foreign-backed militants in the country possessed access to chemicals at two Syrian sites under their control at the time worldwide chemical experts removed all chemical arms from the country back in 2013.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has a standing fact-finding mission on Syria to investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks, but does not apportion blame.

Britain's delegation to the OPCW tweeted from the executive session that the "Fact Finding Mission is working to gather evidence" and has already started testing samples in a lab.

The U.S. was quick to accuse the government, launching a missile strike against Syria's largest airbase, causing damages and killing six soldiers and nine civilians. Washington warned Moscow, and Russian troops at the base were not hit. Although the official said the U.S.is now sure that Russia was the one controlling the drone, the controller of the aircraft that targeted the hospital is still unclear because Syrians also use Russian-made jets.

The explosion of the arm depot left a big white cloud, which turned into yellow, said the statement. Abu Laila who is with Deir Ezzor 24 activist group that has reporters throughout the eastern province that borders Iraq also denied there was such an airstrike.