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Syrian regime ‘was behind deadly chemical weapons attack’

The regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was responsible for sarin gas attack, claims US, citing independent report.

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Syrian regime ‘was behind deadly chemical weapons attack’

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Syrian government forces were behind a deadly chemical weapons attack in opposition territory earlier this year, it’s been claimed.

An independent report has concluded the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad used sarin gas during fighting at Khan Sheikhoun, according to the United States’ mission to the United Nations.

More than 80 people were reported to have died in the attack on April 4, 2017, in north-western Syria.

The US mission said the findings were issued by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN’s Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM).

Independent studies had already confirmed the use of chemical weapons, but this is the first time blame has been attributed.

JIM also reportedly concluded that ISIL used mustard gas during an attack on September 16, 2016, in Um-Housh, Syria.

Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, said: “Today’s report confirms what we have long known to be true.

“Time and again, we see independent confirmation of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime.

“And in spite of these independent reports, we still see some countries trying to protect the regime.

“That must end now. Ignoring the overwhelming amount of evidence in this case shows a purposeful disregard for widely-agreed international norms.”

It comes after Russia cast a veto at the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday preventing the renewal of the mandate for a mission that investigates the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

OPCW and JIM were created by the 15-member UN Security Council in 2015 and renewed in 2016 for another year. Its mandate is due to expire in mid-November.

Russia wanted to discuss the report before voting on the extension of the mandate, and its UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia unsuccessfully asked to postpone the vote.