United Nations says Assad govt gassed Syrians in April attack

UN Assad responsible for gas attack on Syria's Khan Sheikhun

As per New York Times, the U.N report stated that the Syrian Air Force was responsible for sarin chemical attack on rebel-held village on April 4.

Over 87 people were killed in the gas attack on the town at northwestern Idlib province in Syria.

After the attack, as images of dying children gasping for air circulated in the media, the US placed blame on the Syrian military while also accusing Russian Federation, which backs Assad's government, of pushing a "false narrative" that rebel forces were behind the incident.

But expert analysis of photographs and videos of the site where the sarin was released found a crater caused by a "relatively large bomb" that was "dropped from medium or high altitude", the report said. Sarin is more lethal than chlorine gas, which has been documented numerous times in Syria.

The official also said Syria renewed its commitment to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and said it had no chemical materials restricted by the agreement.

The experts also determined that the Islamic State extremist group was responsible for an attack in Um Hosh in Aleppo on September 16, 2016 using mustard gas. Russian Federation has said that the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism's probe into the attack has failed to answer key questions.

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The expert investigators interviewed a Syrian pilot of an Su-22 who denied using chemical weapons and insisted his mission on April 4 was at least seven kilometers (four miles) away from Khan Sheikhun. The US responded to the attack by launching cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase.

Syria and its ally Russian Federation had suggested that a rebel weapon may have detonated on the ground but the United Nations panel confirmed Western intelligence reports that blamed the regime.

Russian Federation said it wanted to study the report on Khan Sheikhun before deciding on the extension of the panel that it helped set up in 2015 jointly with the United States.

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, said the report "confirms what we have long known to be true". "Countries that fail to do so are no better than the dictators or terrorists who use these awful weapons". "The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end, and the only issue is how should that be brought about".

"This behavior can only undermine the global consensus against the use of chemical weapons", he said.

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