France promises proof Assad regime behind chemical attack

Konashenkov questioned how the OPCW, which he said was created as an objective and impartial global organization, was able to come to that conclusion in two weeks while still being unable to identify mustard gas use in Aleppo in four months. The patients were transferred to a hospital in Irbil for treatment of symptoms of a chemical attack, including blisters, burns, respiratory problems, irritation to the eyes and vomiting, the official said.

After the meeting, USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson stated the USA strikes were a matter of national security: "We do not want the regime's uncontrolled stockpile of chemical weapons to fall into the hands of ISIS, or other terrorist groups and want to attack the United States and our allies".

He told media Syria's military gave up all its chemical weapons in 2013 "and would not have used then anyway".

Syria said its weapons were destroyed in 2014 and it blamed a conspiracy between the United States and an extremist group linked to Al Qaeda.

Russian Federation and Syria have claimed conventional Syrian weaponry struck a rebel chemical weapons depot, causing the tragedy. Days after the April 4 attack, President Trump ordered a missile strike on the Syrian military airbase where the regime is believed to have launched the chemical attack.

All of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity under military briefing rules.

The estimate marked the first specific intelligence assessment of Syria's military and weapons capabilities since a chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 that killed some 90 people, including dozens of children, Deutsche Welle.com reported.

After Moscow initially said a Syrian air strike had struck a "terrorist warehouse" containing "toxic substances", Russian President Vladimir Putin last week accused Assad's opponents of planning to stage chemical attacks to lure Washington deeper into the conflict.

Israel has largely stayed out of the civil war raging in its northern neighbor. According to US estimates, more than 1,000 people were killed.

Turkish and British tests also have concluded that sarin or a substance similar to the deadly nerve agent was used in the Idlib attack.

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

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