DEADLY SARIN GAS ATTACK Syrians say watchdog chemical report “sick”
Assad regime claims investigation relied on terrorist testimony, lacked credibility
BEIRUT» Syria’s government on Saturday accused the international chemical weapons watchdog of relying on the testimonies of “terrorists” in its probe that concluded sarin gas was used in a deadly attack in Syria two months ago.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry in a statement also lashed out at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, saying its investigation has been subjected to political extortion, costing the agency its credibility and impartiality. The ministry called its findings “the creation of a sick mind.”
While the OPCW didn’t apportion blame, the U.S., the U.K. and Syrian activists have held the Syrian government responsible for the April 4 on Khan Sheikhoun in the opposition-controlled Idlib province. More than 90 people, including women and children, were killed, sparking outrage around the world as photos and video of the aftermath, which included quivering children dying on camera, were widely broadcast.
The U.S. launched a punitive strike against the Syrian military days after the attack. Syrian President Bashar Assad and his main backer Russia have denied the use of chemical weapons, accusing the Syrian opposition of launching the attacks.
The Syrian foreign ministry said the OPCW had declined to visit Khan Sheikhoun or the base from which the alleged attack was purportedly launched. It said the Syrian government was prepared to cooperate with the investigators.
“The report comes up with a fabricated and exaggerated story that has no credibility and can’t be accepted in any way because it is illogical and is the creation of a sick mind,” the ministry’s statement said.