Syria formally requests UN investigation into chemical attack

A man breathes through an oxygen mask as another man receives treatments, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. Syria has formally requested a UN investigation into the attack. Reuters/Ammar Abdullah

Syrian President Bashar Assad says the Syrian government has formally approached the United Nations, asking it to send in the experts to investigate the April 4 suspected chemical attack.

Assad said in an interview with the Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday that the U.N. has not sent anyone yet and blamed Western nations and the United States in particular for not allowing the experts to travel to Syria.

Assad insisted that if the experts arrive, they will see that reports of what happened in the Idlib province “were all lies.”

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Meanwhile, the Russian military is questioning the conclusions by the international chemical weapons watchdog that victims of the suspected chemical attack in Syria were exposed to sarin or a similar toxin.

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WATCH: Syrian President Assad calls suspected chemical attack blamed on his government a “100% fabrication”

Click to play video: 'Bashar al-Assad dismisses Syria chemical attack as ‘100% fabrication’'
Bashar al-Assad dismisses Syria chemical attack as ‘100% fabrication’

Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov issued a statement Thursday questioning how the samples were collected and how the analysis could have been done so quickly. He said he would like to receive answers to these questions as soon as possible.

Konashenko said only by carrying out an objective investigation on the spot can the truth be established about what happened in the Khan Sheikhun area of Syria’s southern Idlib province and who was responsible. The U.S. and many other nations have accused the Syrian government of responsibility.

Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said Wednesday that the results “from four OPCW designated laboratories indicate exposure to sarin or a sarin-like substance.”


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