Israel Believes Syria Still Has Up to 3 Tons of Chemical Weapons

Mr Assad claims the poison gas attack is a fabrication used to justify the USA air strike.

His visit could provide clarity to key players about United States intentions in the region, particularly in light of President Donald Trump's apparently increased willingness to use military force in Syria against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The attack April 4 on the town of Khan Sheikhoun killed more than 90 people and left hundreds more suffering from effects of the gas.

The French foreign minister said his Government was preparing to publish evidence to show the Syrian Government knowingly used chemical weapons in the incident.

Also on Wednesday, Israeli defense officials said Assad still has up to 3 tons of chemical weapons.

One defense official said that it appeared that most, if not all, of the Syrian government's operational warplanes were moved near Russia's Khmeimim Air Base in Syria's northwestern Latakia province.

Its ally Russian Federation, meanwhile, said an air strike hit a rebel depot full of chemical munitions - but this suggestion has been widely rejected. The U.S. and many other nations have accused the Syrian government of responsibility. Israel, which welcomed the USA strike, was notified two hours ahead of time, the military official said.

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Johnson called on Russian Federation to end its "blind support" for Assad and help towards a political solution to the six-year Syrian civil war. The fighting has killed an estimated 400,000 people and displaced half of Syria's population. But it has carried out a number air strikes against suspected arms shipments bound for Assad's ally Hezbollah in Lebanon, and in retaliation to errant fire into the Golan Heights.

Shaba'an said the United States strike wasn't a military, but a political message, adding that the alliance between Russia, Syria and Iran is "stronger than ever".

Moscow's unwavering support for Damascus has left Russian Federation open to even more condemnation from the global community and further committed it to an intervention that, according to president Vladimir Putin earlier this year, was supposed to be close to ending.

Mattis spoke alongside Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013.

It was said to have been dismantled and destroyed under worldwide supervision in 2014. However, doubts soon emerged over whether all of the regime's armaments or production facilities were declared and destroyed.

Such a move would also be against the convention against chemical weapons "as it is the role of the OPCW to lead independently any investigation", he added.

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. Inquiries confirmed the attacks at Ghouta back in August 2013 released sarin on a relatively large scale, but the perpetrators have never been formally identified. "It could also be used for roughly 10 attacks of a similar size to the recent Khan Sheikhoun attack", he said.

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