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    British foreign minister Boris Johnson (L) listens to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini during an EU foreign ministers meeting at the European Council, in Brussels, on January 16, 2017

    Johnson Says Assad 'Almost Certainly' Behind Idlib Chemical Incident

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    Chemical Weapons Incident in Syria’s Idlib Province (170)
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    Boris Johnson claims that Damascus "almost certainly" carried out the suspected chemical attack in the Idlib province.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Tuesday that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad "almost certainly" carried out the suspected chemical attack in the Idlib province.

    "We know from shell fragments in the crater that not only had sarin been used, but carrying the specific chemical signature of sarin used by the Assad regime. And given that samples from the victims show conclusively that victims have been exposed to sarin gas, there is only one conclusion that the Assad regime almost certainly gassed its own people in breach of the international law and the rules of war," Johnson said in the House of Commons.

    On April 4, a chemical weapons incident in Syria's Idlib province claimed the lives of some 80 people and inflicted harm on an additional 200 civilians. The Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, as well as a number of Western states, accused the Syrian government troops of carrying out the attack, while Damascus refuted these allegations, with a Syrian army source telling Sputnik that the army did not possess chemical weapons.

     

    The Russian Defense Ministry said on April 5 that the airstrike near Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian air force hit a terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said April 6 that groundless accusations in the chemical weapons incident in Syria's Idlib were unacceptable before the investigation into the matter had been carried out.

    However, the incident was used as pretext for a US missile strike against the Ash Sha'irat airbase carried out late on April 6. US President Donald Trump characterized the strike as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government troops while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was a violation of the international law. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the US missile strike against the Syrian airfield as a strategic mistake.

    In an exclusive interview with Fox Business on April 12, US President Donald Trump blamed the current situation in Syria on Moscow's support for country's Assad, calling the Syrian leader "an animal."

    Earlier this year, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the country’s government had never used weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, against the Syrian people. Besides, under a Russian-US deal after the east Ghouta sarin gas incident in 2013, Damascus joined the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and agreed to destroy its stockpile under Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) oversight. In January 2016, the OPCW announced that all chemical weapons in Syria had been destroyed.

     

    Topic:
    Chemical Weapons Incident in Syria’s Idlib Province (170)

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    Tags:
    Bashar al-Assad, Boris Johnson, Syria, Britain
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