President Bashar Assad, of Syria, claims the chemical attack, on April 4, 2017, was falsified. His statement is contrary to tests conducted, a multitude of eyewitnesses, and the explanation of the assault described by Russia. The Assad regime offered another alternative, stating the chemical assault was the work of terrorist groups.
An Interview With Syrian President
Assad was interviewed by the AFP news agency at the presidential palace, in Damascus. He told the reporter the data collected and released concerning the chemical attack was a false narrative delivered by al Qaeda. The images of trucks transporting piles of dead bodies and videos of suffocating children being hosed down were fabricated to provoke anger and disgust worldwide.
During the interview, Assad asserted that his regime turned over all chemical weapons in 2013. He insisted his army never attacked with them because it would be morally unacceptable. The Syrian president claims the U.S. was working with terrorists and falsified the chemical attack as an excuse to destroy the Al Shayrat air base.
AFP had to follow tight restrictions to conduct the interview. The Syrian presidency recorded the conversation and only returned the first five questions to the news agency. SANA, the Syrian state agency, later, released the entire transcript and video.
Evidence Supporting the Chemical Attack
CNN interviewed victims who were flown to Turkey for treatment, on April 4, after the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun. Witnesses, emergency medical staff, and the injured spoke of their horrifying accounts: mothers fleeing with their children, gasping for air; fathers burying infant children, wives, and extended family members in large graves; and people foaming at the mouth before death.
Russia, the closest ally to Assad, agreed that the assault involved nerve gas. Moscow released a statement suggesting a regime aircraft struck a rebel storage facility filled with chemical weapons. However, NPR says this is not true, according to experts. Analysis of the assault proves the location and the timeline, supported by Russia, does not align with satellite images or eye witness accounts.
Turkey and the U.K. Ministry of Defense conducted tests to determine the gas used in the attack was sarin. According to experts, sarin has a short lifespan and only the Assad regime was capable of creating the gas.
The World Health Organization concluded the symptoms experienced by the victims were consistent with exposure to nerve gas. Amnesty International agreed with their findings. Medical examiners conducted autopsies, in Turkey, confirming the use of nerve gas. The White House and U.S. intelligence officials concur the chemical assault was not falsified.
Despite the reports and the accounts, the Syrian president claimed,
We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun, were they dead at all?
The province is under the control of Nusra Front and could not be investigated. The only information available concerning the chemical attack was falsified and published by al Qaeda, claims the Syrian president.
By Jeanette Smith
CNN: Assad claims Syria chemical attack was ‘fabrication’, in face of evidence
NPR: Bashar Assad Tells AFP That Chemical Attack Was Western ‘Fabrication’
The New York Times: Assad Says Videos of Dead Children in Syria Chemical Attack Were Faked
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Surian Soosay’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License