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Syria has retained up to 3 tons of chemical weapons

25 April 2017

The gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April, which has been widely blamed on Syria's president Bashar al Assad, prompted the U.S. to retaliate with a cruise missile strike on one of the country's airbases.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, France's foreign minister, told French TV: "We will provide proof that the regime did indeed organise these strikes with chemical weapons".

The Syrian government has asked the United Nations to send experts to investigate the alleged chemical attack in Idlib province, but the request remains unanswered due to pressure from US, UK and France, Syrian president Bashar Assad told media at a press conference.

Sarin or a similar nerve agent was used in the Khan Sheikhun chemical attack that killed dozens earlier this month in Syria, according to initial findings announced by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The implication is that Syria may be concerned about additional USA strikes following the cruise missile attack earlier this month in retaliation for alleged Syrian use of sarin gas.

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Many leaders worldwide including Turkey President Erdoğan and U.S. President Trump have accused Assad of being behind the attack in the opposition-held town.

The draft-resolution, however, overlooked the fact that the global body, based in The Hague, was already investigating the April 4 attack on Idlib province, which claimed the lives of 87 people, including many children. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity under military briefing rules.

In April, US forces attacked a Syrian air base with cruise missiles in retaliation for a deadly chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians.

"Yesterday, our joint proposal that OPCW experts visit the sites of the suspected chemical weapon use incident in Syria was blocked by western delegations without coherent explanations".

"There is a clear sense of paranoia", a senior defense official told Fox News about the movement of large numbers of Syrian aircraft after the strike.

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In Syria, the evacuation of thousands of Syrians from four besieged areas resumed Wednesday, state media outlets and activists said, days after a bombing killed more than 120 evacuees and delayed the widely criticized population transfer.

The United States blamed the chemical attack on the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on the government and fired almost 60 missiles at a Syrian air base in response.

Russian Federation last week vetoed a United Nations draft resolution condemning the April 4 attack and demanding the Syrian government cooperate with an investigation, blocking Security Council action against its ally for an eighth time.

A similar global outcry after a sarin attack in 2013 resulted in a USA and Russian program to destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. 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.

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