At UN, US tells Russian Federation it's isolating itself by backing Assad

Apr 17, 2017, 05:28

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said a suspected chemical weapons attack was a "fabrication" to justify a USA military strike, AFP news agency reported.

Asked if he had ordered the chemical weapons attack, Assad said the Syrian military had no chemical weapons and that it would not use them if it did.

"One hundred percent fabrication", Assad said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.

Syria and Russian Federation have suggested a conventional airstrike by the Syrian army may have hit a depot storing chemical weapons possessed by extremists.

The chemical attacks in Syria that left more than 80 men, women and children dead have been blamed on Assad.

Syria denied any use of chemical weapons and Moscow said the deaths had been the result of a conventional strike hitting a rebel arms depot containing "toxic substances". "We don't know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun, were they dead at all?" he said. White House officials say they drew on reports from aid agencies, video evidence, laboratory analysis of samples from victims and classified intelligence to draw that conclusion.

The US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a military airfield in Syria's Homs province overnight to April 7 on orders issued by US President Donald Trump. "We have never used our chemical arsenal in our history".

Moscow has warned against putting the blame on Damascus until an independent inquiry is conducted and vetoed a proposed United Nations resolution on the attack, saying it failed to mention the need to inspect the affected area.

Russia, Iran and Syria want an independent investigation and those opposed to the call "don't have a clear conscience", Lavrov said.

We don't have any chemical weapons, we gave up our arsenal a few years ago.

The embattled Syrian leader denied that his government possessed chemical weapons, having allegedly disposed of them following a 2013 agreement brokered by the USA and Russian Federation.

Assad denied having chemical weapons and said Syria would only allow an "impartial" investigation into the incident.

"Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists", Assad told AFP.

Lavrov said that actions such as the USA airstrike on Syrian province of Idlib on April 7 to change the Syria regime would fail.

Britain's Ambassador, Sir Geoffrey Adams, told the meeting that United Kingdom scientists have analyzed samples from Khan Shaykhun and they "tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, or a sarin-like substance". It has conducted an air campaign in Syria since September 2015, saving Assad's government from imminent collapse and helping to reverse the Syrian military's fortunes.