Syria president Assad says chemical attack a United States fabrication
The global chemical weapons watchdog is testing samples from the suspected nerve gas attack and could produce a report on the matter within three weeks, the British delegation to the commission said Thursday.
The White House report, however, cited "a wide body of open-source material" and "social media accounts" from the area occupied by foreign-backed militants in the country, including footage provided by the White Helmets rescue group, which has been documented to have ties with anti-Damascus militant groups as well as Western and Persian Gulf Arab governments backing the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Assad denied having chemical weapons and said Syria would only allow an "impartial" investigation into the incident.
A Ministry of Defense spokesperson told CNN on Thursday that the scientists had conducted the tests in British labs on blood and hair samples from victims, collected at Khan Sheikhun in Syria's idlib province, where 89 people were killed in the April 4 gas attack. The Assad government used chlorine in the past, while ISIS terrorists attacked with sarin and mustard gas.
He said Khan Sheikhun had no strategic value and was not a battle front.
The toxic gas attack, which killed scores of people including children, prompted a United States cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base and widened a rift between the USA and Russian Federation, a close ally of Assad's in his conflict with rebels and militants.
Rudskoy noted that, under the 2013 agreement to give up its chemical weapons, the Syrian government destroyed its stockpiles at 10 sites that were under its control.
A US-based expert and MIT professor has effectively demonstrated that the site of the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun was tampered with, insisting that the U.S. intelligence report blaming the Syrian government for the attack "cannot be true". Russian officials blame opposition groups, claiming a missile hit a poisonous gas storage depot held by them.
"The terrorist groups are capable of obtaining, and stockpiling such weapons with the help of well-known regional countries and that what Syria has been warning against in every instance the rebels used chemical weapons against civilians and government forces", the statement said. This was verified by the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Its findings, expected in three to four weeks, will be passed to a joint United Nations-OPCW chemical weapons investigation.
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Not as warm, but still mild this afternoon with sunshine
TUESDAY: Partly to mostly cloudy skies and a few rain showers will be possible, with a high temperature of 73 degrees. Rain chances will taper off tonight and clouds will near out overnight with lows falling into the mid 50s.