On April 6, commenting on the alleged use of chemical weapons against the Khan Sheikun community in Syria, expert on chemical weapons Ralf Trapp said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk that "first it was necessary to find out the circumstances and understand what kind of chemical agent — if it was a chemical agent — was used."
In particular, Trapp demanded an "independent and thorough investigation" and insisted that the Russian and Syrian sides should take part in it. Only this way, Trapp said, it would be possible to answer the two questions: "Was this an attack during which poisonous substances were used, and if so, what kind of poison was that? What evidence do we have, who is responsible for this, what actually happened and how?"
On Thursday night, the US military launched multiple cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha'irat, near the city of Homs. US President Donald Trump said the missile attack was a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria's Idlib Province on Tuesday.
However, in his article for German Die Welt newspaper, Alfred Hackensberger drew attention to the fact the attack went against the interests of Damascus from a military point of view and therefore is unlikely to have been carried out by the Syrian government.
"It [Damascus] would only discredit himself at the international level and put itself at serious risk," Hackensberger wrote.
The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the US attack, adding that the use of chemical weapons in Idlib was impossible, as Damascus did not have such weapons. Moscow also suspended a memorandum of understanding on air safety over Syria with Washington earlier in the day due to the US attack.
Although in November 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel repeatedly stated that she wants to cooperate with the US according to the principles based on the "respect of the rule of law," Chancellor Merkel's and other European politicians' attitude toward the US missile attacks clearly contradict their previous statements, Gräser stated.
On Friday, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the US attack in a telephone conversation and issued a joint statement, blaming Syrian President Bashar Assad for the latest development. Merkel praised the attack as "indications are that the Assad regime was behind" the alleged chemical weapons use in Idlib, however, no proof was provided.