Turkish minister: Chemical weapons were used in Idlib

Tomas Mccoy
April 7, 2017

Turkey said Thursday that autopsies of Syrian victims from this week's assault in Syria's Idlib province show they were subjected to chemical weapons as France's foreign minister called for the prosecution of President Bashar Assad's government amid growing worldwide outrage over the assault that activists say killed 86 people.

The wounded had been brought from Idlib through Turkey's Cilvegozu border gate for the treatment in the Reyhanli district of Hatay province. "The results of the autopsy confirms that chemical weapons were used", justice minister Bekir Bozdag told the state-run Anadolu news agency.

"These latest statements contradict everything the new administration has said about Syria so far". It's not yet confirmed what chemical agent was involved in the attack, but early indicators point to the release of a nerve agent like Sarin. At least one monitoring group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the death toll had risen to at least 86.

But Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he had seen "absolutely nothing to suggest" the attack was carried out by anyone but the Assad regime. Doctors' accounts conflicted over the chemical that was used in the attack, varying from chlorine to sarin. Turkey reacted by sending ambulances from southern Turkey to the town, transferring 32 wounded Syrians to a medical facility.

As a private citizen at the time, Trump slammed proponents of military action against the Syrian government, saying the USA should "stay away" from the crisis.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Assad a "murderer" over the incident.

Turkey's claim of having evidence of chemical use in the attack adds to the growing belief among world powers that Assad's forces were responsible. His comments appeared to have come before Tuesday's attack.

"It crossed a lot of lines for me", he said at a joint White House press conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II.

Trump declined to outline his new approach to Syria's raging civil war Wednesday but has in the past warned against USA military involvement there. His ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, warned that Washington could take unilateral action if the U.N. failed "in its duty to act collectively".

But in 2013, a chemical attack was carried out in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, in which activists say 1,400 people died. The resolution was drafted following an alleged air strike in the town of Khan Shaykhun by Syrian government warplanes in a suspected chemical weapons attack. "What is the United States approach?" ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told CNN in a text message.

The U.S. blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the attack in the northwestern province of Idlib that killed more than 70 people, and criticized Russian Federation for backing Assad in pointing the finger at rebels opposed to his rule.

In an interview with Croatian newspaper Vecernji List published on Thursday, Assad said the government could not reach an agreement with the Syrian opposition at peace talks in Geneva and Astana, the Kazakh capital. He said there was therefore no "option except victory".

The gas attack that killed 72 including 20 children at Khan Sheikhun in Syria Tuesday "is also a tragic reminder that global law and the resolutions of this Council continue to be blatantly violated", Italy's permanent representative at the UN, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, said Wednesday. The draft resolution calls for a probe by global chemical weapons watchdog the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It also requests that Syria provides information about its military flights on Tuesday.

"These crimes must not remain unpunished".

"We need to defeat ISIS", he said Thursday on CNN's "New Day".

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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