World News

Israel says Assad's forces still have several tonnes of chemical weapons

Israel says Assad's forces still have several tonnes of chemical weapons

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on April 19 that this country would present proof of the Assad regime's culpability in the coming days, the Deutsche Welle report said.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) chief's conclusion that sarin gas traces were found on victims of the reported April 4 chemical incident in Syria's Idlib exposes the organization, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday. After an even bigger chemical attack in August 2013, which killed several hundred people, he warned then-President Barack Obama against retaliating against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The attack this month in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun killed 86 people.

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

After the USA strike, Russian Federation said it would suspend its participation in a hotline with the United States military to "deconflict" or minimize the risk of mid-air collisions in Syrian airspace, but US officials said this week that the two militaries continued to communicate.

The United States launched 59 cruise missiles in a strike meant to damage the infrastructure of the airstrip from which the US believes the chemical weapons attack was launched.

The use of sarin gas in the April 4 attack, allegedly by the Syrian regime, killed around 100 civilians and injured some 500 in the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhun, Idlib.

Israel welcomed the strike on its northern neighbour.

The group used chemical weapons, including chlorine and sulfur, at least 52 times in Syria and Iraq, according to a study released in November by IHS Conflict Monitor, a London-based intelligence collection and analysis service.

The United States and many other nations have called the attack a chemical weapons attack and accused the Syrian government of responsibility.

The Post, citing a defense official, also said the regime used the chemical weapons out of frustration after failing to make meaningful advances on the ground despite support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal to avert USA 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.

UK-based chemical weapons expert Dan Kaszeta told the Associated Press that Israel's estimate was conservative, but that the remaining amount was enough to be highly lethal.


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