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France says to provide proof on Syria government chemical weapons use

21 April 2017

In doing so he assuaged the worldwide conscience wilfully violated by the obnoxious pictures of the dead from Assad's despicable chemical attack. Spicer had to later clarify that if the barrel bombs-a weapon routinely used by Syrian forces-contained chemical agents, then a military response would be possible.

A senior military official says Israeli military intelligence estimates that Assad has "between one and three tons" of chemical weapons. The U.S. retaliated two days later with a missile strike against the al-Shayrat air base in Syria.

The measure comes after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles at Syria's Shayrat airfield, from which Washington believes embattled President Bashar Al-Assad's regime forces launched a deadly sarin gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun.

"Yesterday, our joint proposal that experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) should visit the scene of the purported incident where chemical weapons had been supposedly used was blocked by Western delegations without any clear explanations", Sergey Lavrov said at the meeting with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The findings supported earlier testing by Turkish and British laboratories.

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Syria said its weapons were destroyed in 2014 and it blamed a conspiracy between the United States and an extremist group linked to Al Qaeda.

The Syrian government and rebels are allowing up to 30,000 people to leave areas besieged by their forces over the coming two months in a deal critics say amounts to demographic rearrangement. Two other Israeli defense officials, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, confirmed the assessment, the Associated Press reported.

The US responded to the attack by launching air strikes on a Syrian military airfield.

In their Final Communiqué on April 10-11, G-7 leaders stated that US action against the Shayrat airfield "was a carefully calibrated, limited in scope response" to the attacks at Khan Sheikhoun "in order to prevent and deter the proliferation and use of deadly chemical weapons in Syria".

Top Assad ally, Russia, has asserted a Syrian government airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons factory, causing the disaster.

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The entire stockpile was said to have been dismantled and shipped out under global supervision in 2014 and destroyed.

The United States launched 59 cruise missiles in a strike meant to damage the infrastructure of the airstrip from which the US believes the chemical weapons attack was launched. But doubts began to emerge soon afterward that not all such armaments or production facilities were declared and destroyed.

The evacuations from the two towns, and the northern pro-government villages of Foua and Kfarya, resumed Wednesday after being delayed by a bombing that killed more than 120 pro-government evacuees on Saturday.

But Mr 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.

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