Assad denies chemical attack claims

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says his government had nothing to do with a chemical attack. Picture: AP

WiresNews Corp Australia Network

SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad has called claims that his government launched a chemical attack on his own people were “100 pre cent fabrication”.

It comes as global chemical weapons investigators went to Turkey to collect samples as part of an inquiry into the attack in Syria that killed 87 people on April 4.

The fact-finding mission was sent by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague to gather biometric samples and interview survivors, sources told Reuters.

Agony of a tiny boy0:06

Harrowing footage out of Syria shows a child struggling to breathe after a ‘sarin’ gas attack.

The toxic gas attack, which killed scores of people including children, prompted a US cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base and widened a rift between the US and Russia, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his conflict with rebels and militants.

RELATED: Ivanka Trump’s distress had ‘significant influence’ on US air strikes in Syria, diplomat suggests

Syrian authorities have repeatedly denied using any chemical weapons. Russian officials said the gas had been released by an air strike on a poison gas storage depot controlled by rebels.

Abdul-Hamid Alyousef holds his twin babies who were killed during a chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun town, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. Picture: AP

Abdul-Hamid Alyousef holds his twin babies who were killed during a chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun town, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. Picture: APSource:The Courier-Mail

An unconscious Syrian child is carried at a hospital in Khan Sheikhun following the toxic gas attack on April 4. Picture: AFP

An unconscious Syrian child is carried at a hospital in Khan Sheikhun following the toxic gas attack on April 4. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Washington said that account was not credible and rebels have denied it. Samples taken from the poison gas site in Syria’s Idlib governorate tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, the British delegation at the OPCW said on Thursday.

“UK scientists have analysed samples taken from Khan Sheikhoun. These have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, or a sarin-like substance,” the delegation said during a special session at the OPCW in The Hague. The UK result confirmed earlier testing by Turkish authorities that concluded sarin had been used for the first time on a large scale in Syria’s civil war since 2013.

The OPCW mission will determine whether chemical weapons were used, but is not mandated to assign blame.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea. Picture: AP

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea. Picture: APSource:AP

This satellite image shows destroyed aircraft shelters on the southeast side of the Shayrat air base in Syri. Picture: AP

This satellite image shows destroyed aircraft shelters on the southeast side of the Shayrat air base in Syri. Picture: APSource:AP

Its findings, expected in three to four weeks, will be passed to a joint United Nations-OPCW chemical weapons investigation.

International investigators have concluded that sarin, chlorine and sulphur mustard gas have been used in Syria’s six-year-old conflict, with government forces using chlorine and Islamic State militants using sulphur mustard.

SOURCE: newsnow worldnews