Published: Sat, April 15, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Bashar Assad Tells AFP That Chemical Attack Was Western 'Fabrication'


Syrian President Bashar al Assad says a deadly toxic gas attack widely blamed on his forces is a "100% fabrication".

Assad denied having chemical weapons and said Syria would only allow an "impartial" investigation into the incident.

"There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council", said Trump in his statement.

The day after the attack on April 4, which killed 89 people and injured dozens more, CNN interviewed victims who had fled over the border to Turkey.

Government ally Russian Federation on Wednesday vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding Syria co-operate with an worldwide investigation of the attack.

The interview with AFP's Damascus bureau chief took place on Wednesday.

AFP had to follow tight restrictions to conduct the interview.

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Assad was interviewed by the AFP news agency at the presidential palace, in Damascus.

Since the U.S. strike on Syria last week, 162 barrel bombs have been dropped by Syrian government helicopters, the report states.

It was the first direct USA military action against Assad's forces since the start of Syria's civil war six years ago and led to a quick downward spiral in ties between Washington and Moscow.

He added that "this outrage is abetted by Russia's continuing efforts to bury the truth and protect the Syrian regime" from consequences of using chemical weapons.

Assad said the West and the United States made up the attack because they are "hand in glove" with terrorists. "They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack", he said, referring to the United States missile strike.

Assad said no proper investigation had been possible because the area was controlled by Nusra Front. He also accused them of "defending ISIS". Assad's government told the organization it had a 1,300-ton stockpile of chemical weapons and chemicals used to make them. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported 25 SDF fighters were killed in the last two days of battle, while the activist-run Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently group said on Wednesday that three days of mourning were to be held in a border town held by the SDF after the arrival of the bodies of 15 fighters from the battle.

Meanwhile, a senior USA official who spoke under condition of anonymity said the US found that Russian Federation already knew of the chemical attack before it was carried out.

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