HAGUE - Samples taken from the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria last week tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, the British delegation at the world's chemical weapons watchdog said on Thursday (13/4).
"UK scientists have analyzed 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 Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.
Earlier testing by Turkish authorities had also said the chemical used on April 4 was sarin.
Previous, Trump administration has “clear and consistent” information leading it to believe that the Syrian government bombed its own people with sarin nerve gas last week, senior intelligence officials said in a background briefing at the White House.
The officials presented information April 11 that they said was based on declassified intelligence, NGO observations, laboratory samples from victims, and social media reports. They said they believe the information proves both Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the Russian government are lying about the April 4 attack that killed dozens.
Below here are key reasons of US officials say the April 4 incident was carried out by Assad forces, in an air attack thought to have started at 6:55am local time.
1. The plane the bomb was on. The attack was conducted by a Su-22 “fixed-wing aircraft” that took off from Shayrat Airfield, which is held by the regime, administration officials said. The Russian-made aircraft is used by the Syrian government. (This is the airfield that the US bombed last week, in retaliation for the attacks.)
2. The people who were at the airfield earlier. People who were “historically associated” with Syria’s chemical-weapons program were at the airfield in late March, preparing for another attack on northern Syria, and on the day of the sarin gas attack.
3. The victims’ symptoms. Reports from the World Health Organization and social media show victims frothing at the mouth and twitching, which is consistent with sarin attacks. Early responders also had symptoms consistent with nerve gas, and tissue samples from the victims tested positive for sarin.
4. What ISIS possesses. Russian and Syrian officials say the gas came from stockpiles held by rebel forces. There is no known pattern of terrorists in the area using or having sarin gas, an official said, “but we know the Syrian regime has sarin.” ISIS does, however, possess mustard gas.
5. Assad’s struggling military operation in the region. The attack was an “operational calculus” by Assad as his forces moved east from Aleppo, one senior US administration official said. Assad calculated that chemical weapons were necessary to make up for “manpower deficiencies,” and aimed them at civilian areas that he may have thought housed ISIS fighters.
Meanwhile, Turkey says it has "concrete evidence" the nerve agent Sarin was used in a suspected attack by Syrian government forces a week ago.
Turkey Health Minister, Recep Akdag was quoted by the Anadolu news agency as saying traces of one of the decomposition products of Sarin had been detected in the blood and urine of several victims.
At least 89 people were killed in the incident in rebel-held Khan Sheikhoun. Syria's government has repeatedly denied using any chemical weapons.