“A large number of people, some of whom died, were exposed to sarin or a sarin-like substance.”
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has reconfirmed that the nerve agent sarin was used in an April attack in northwest Syria by the Assad regime.
A regime Su-22 warplane dropped a missile with the sarin on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, killing at least 92 people and injuring almost 600. Bashar al-Assad has tried to maintain that the attack was “100% fabrication”, while Russia has put out various cover stories, including that of a Su-22 striking a rebel warehouse filled with chemicals.
The OPCW report was circulated to its members in The Hague on Thursday, but was not made public.
Based on interviews witnesses and examination of samples from victims, the OPCW fact-finding mission concluded:
A large number of people, some of whom died, were exposed to sarin or a sarin-like substance. It is the conclusion of the FFM that such a release can only be determined as the use of sarin, as a chemical weapon.
Russia vetoed a UN Security Council mandating a visit to Khan Sheikhoun as well as Shayrat airbase, from where the attack was launched and which was struck by US missiles three days later. Moscow has subsequently said the OPCW should go to the town, but has insisted that the independent mission include Russian and Iranian members.
The OPCW also has cited security concerns for its inability to pursue an on-site investigation.
The White House warned on Monday that the Assad regime was making preparations for another attack, citing intelligence from Shayrat airbase. Defense Secretary James Mattis said two days later that there was no further evidence of preparations, suggesting the US warning had deterred the regime.
Suicide Bombers Attack Lebanese Soldiers in Camp for Syrian Refugees
Five suicide bombers attacked Lebanese soldiers on Friday inside two Syrian refugee camps near the border.
One suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt in front of the troops,and four others blew themselves up without causing any injuries. A sixth attacker threw a hand grenade at the patrol in the Arsal area.
A 2 1/2 year-old girl, whose parents are both refugees, was killed. Three soldiers were wounded by the one suicide attack, and four others were injured by the hand grenade.
The Lebanese troops were combing the camp for suspected militants. In 2014, fighters from the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra fought the troops and police for weeks, killing at least 20, injuring 85, and capturing more than 40. Four of the soldiers were executed and and about 20 security personnel are still held.
The refugee camps were damaged in the fighting, with tents burned by fires started by shelling.