MESOP NEWS INSIGHT : THE PROOF ! – Assad Regime Used “Sarin or Sarin-Like Substance” in Khan Sheikhoun Attack

By Scott Lucas – eaworldview –  20 Apr 2017 – France, the UK, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have each declared that “sarin or a sarin-like substance” was used in the chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northwest Syria on April 4.

The French and British Foreign Ministers went farther and cited conclusive evidence that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack, by a Su-22 jet fighter firing a missile, which killed at least 93 people and wounded almost 600.

The OPCW, which is still seeking the co-operation of the regime to investigate inside Syria, did not attribute blame. However, it was clear that bio-medical samples from three victims during autopsies and seven in hospitals indicated exposure to a nerve agent.

Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said, “While further details of the laboratory analyses will follow, the analytical results already obtained are incontrovertible.”

Sources from multiple governments — including Turkey, the US, Britain, and France — had already said that sarin was used and that the regime was the likely attacker. But no named official had gone on the record until Tuesday when Johnson told Parliament, “[There is] only one conclusion, that the Assad regime almost certainly gassed its own people in breach of international law and the rules of war.”

On Wednesday, Ayrault said, “We have elements that will allow us to show that the regime knowingly used chemical weapons. In a few days I will be able to bring you the proof.”President Assad has insisted that there was no chemical attack at all, claiming that the evidence is “100% fabrication”.

Russia, Assad’s essential ally, has acknowledged that people died from chemical exposure; however, it has put out multiple, differing explanations. These include a rebel “false flag” attack to blame the regime, and a regime warplane hitting a rebel warehouse with chemical stocks. None of the Russian claims has been supported with evidence, although they have been repeated — and extended — by conspiracy theorists, Assad regime supporters, and some Western journalists.

A “senior Israeli military officer”, briefing Israeli reporters, said on Wednesday that “a few tonnes of chemical weapons” remained in the hands of Assad’s forces, despite the regime supposedly handing over all stocks after its August 2013 attacks near Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people.

Some reports quoted the briefing officer as putting the amount at up to 3 tons.

Two days after the Khan Sheikhoun attack, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he was “100% certain” that the attack was “directly ordered and planned by Assad”.

The senior officer said yesterday, “It’s hard for me to believe that [Assad] didn’t know” about the use of the nerve agent.