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Syria's Assad still has chemical weapons, says Israel

22 April 2017, 12:51 | Terri Saunders

Syria's Assad still has chemical weapons, says Israel

Syria's Assad still has chemical weapons, says Israel

Speaking Wednesday evening on French TV, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: "We will provide proof that the regime did indeed organize these strikes with chemical weapons".

Following the strikes, the IDF's Spokesperson's Unit put out a statement saying that Israel's military had been briefed in advance and expressed their support for the strikes and speaking to military journalists at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, the senior official confirmed that the IDF had been warned ahead of time of the United States strike against the base where warplanes that carried out the deadly Khan Sheikhoun chemical gas attack were based.

"I have reviewed the [White House's] document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the U.S. government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria at roughly 6am to 7am on 4 April, 2017", Postol wrote in a series of reports. "He's lost all legitimacy", the senior official said.

Israel, along with the United States and much of the global community, has accused Assad's forces of carrying out the attack, which killed at least 90 people, including dozens of children.

Briefing reporters, he said Israel estimates Assad still has "between one and three tons" of chemical weapons.

While two years ago there may have been an Iranian hegemony in Syria, there was now Russian hegemony in West Syria, he said, but "even with support from the Russians and Hezbollah, Assad can not control the entire country. His forces are gaining ground in Western Syria but it is hard to see him controlling the entire country".

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Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal to avert US strikes in September 2013, following a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs in August that year that killed hundreds of people and sparked worldwide outrage. But doubts began to emerge soon afterward that not all such armaments or production facilities were declared and destroyed.

"While further details of the laboratory analyses will follow, the analytical results already obtained are incontrovertible", said Ahmet Uzumcu, OPCW General Director. The agency, based in The Hague, Netherlands, is expected to issue a report within two weeks.

Tests have shown that Sarin or similar nerve agent was used in the Syrian town of Khan Sheykhun, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a press release published at its homepage on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Assad's former chemical weapons research chief told Britain's The Telegraph newspaper that Syria had "at least 2,000 tons" of chemical weapons before the war and only declared 1,300.

The Turkish government said autopsies on victims brought over the border confirmed chemical weapons had been used.



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