British experts say Sarin-like agent used in Syria chemical attack

Posted April 18, 2017

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the veto left Moscow, a key ally of the Syrian government, with "a lot to prove".

A man carries the body of a dead child, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. Speaking to the Catholic News Service in an interview, Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph Younan labeled the strike as an aggression and suggested that the us should have waited for the United Nations to finish an investigation into the origin of the chemical attack.

Global chemical weapons investigators have gone to Turkey to collect samples as part of an inquiry into an alleged chemical weapons attack in neighbouring Syria last week that killed 87 people. He said the Syrian people "have suffered six years of ever-escalating barbarity, over six years of failed ceasefires, and over the years, Russian Federation has held us ransom for the Assad regime".

The U.S. was quick to accuse the government, launching a missile strike against Syria's largest airbase, causing damages and killing six soldiers and nine civilians. A showdown vote by the Security Council is planned for later Wednesday on a proposed United Nations resolution that would compel the Syrian regime to provide helicopter pilots and flight logs from the day of the attack to outside investigators.

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But that one would have condemned the US missile strikes ordered by President Donald Trump in response to the chemical attack. Russian Federation has staunchly backed Assad's government throughout a civil war that has dragged into a seventh year.

The Syrian army meanwhile said hundreds of Islamic State fighters as well as civilians were killed when a US -led coalition airstrike hit a militant position in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour. The SDF say their goal is to ultimately recapture the city, which has served as the de facto capital the so-called Islamic State.

The SDF says it wants to isolate Raqqa before attacking it.

He said Khan Sheikhun had no strategic value and was not a battle front.

The SDF, meanwhile, announced the launch of a new phase of its campaign to retake Raqqa. But the countryside south of Raqqa is still under IS control.

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The campaign has come at a cost to the predominantly Kurdish forces, which receive ground and air support from the US military and other allies. There was no comment from the SDF. Russian officials said the gas had been released by an air strike on a poison gas storage depot controlled by rebels.

It said white smoke billowing from the area of the strike turned yellow, "most likely because of the explosion of a large warehouse containing large quantities of toxic substances".

Opposition activist Omar Abu Laila, who is from Deir el-Zour and now lives in Europe, denied that hundreds of people were killed in the village of Hatla as a result of poison gas.

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