Jueves, 26 Abril, 2018

U.S. 'intercepted Syrian preparation communications' ahead of chemical attack

Tillerson Heads to Moscow as Tensions With Russia Rise Tillerson Heads to Moscow as Tensions With Russia Rise
Eleena Tovar | 15 Abril, 2017, 08:35

"I would like to think that [Russia] didn't know, but certainly they could have", President Donald Trump told reporters at The White House on Wednesday, adding that the Pentagon was still investigating whether Moscow was complicit in the attack.

He said a barrage of USA missiles against a military airport had not diminished his government's ability to carry out strikes.

"Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story to have a pretext for the attack".

But Assad said evidence came only from "a branch of Al-Qaeda", referring to a former jihadist affiliate that is among the groups that control Idlib province, where Khan Sheikhun is located.

Shocking footage showed victims - many of them children - convulsing and foaming at the mouth.

But Assad insisted it was "not clear whether it happened or not, because how can you verify a video? You have a lot of fake videos now".

He also said Khan Sheikhoun, in Syria's north-western Idlib province, had no strategic value and was not now a battle front. On Wednesday, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to condemn the Idlib attack and push the Syrian government to cooperate with investigators.

"We can only allow any investigation when it's impartial, when we make sure that unbiased countries will participate in this delegation to make sure that they won't use it for politicised purposes", he said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian army said hundreds of ISIL fighters as well as civilians were killed when an air raid by the US-led coalition hit a militant position in the eastern province of Deir Ezzour.

The Assad regime agreed to dismantle the country's chemical weapons stockpiles in a 2013 deal brokered by the United States and Russian Federation following the deadly regime attack on East Ghouta near the capital of Damascus where over 1,400 people were killed, including 426 children.

"We do not use chemical weapons against terrorists or our own people".

Moscow has warned against putting the blame on Damascus until an independent inquiry is conducted and vetoed a proposed United Nations resolution on the attack, saying it failed to mention the need to inspect the affected area.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that OPCW inspectors should visit both the Syrian airbase, which the US said served as a platform for the attack, and Khan Sheikhoun to get a full and objective picture.

No communications that confirmed Russian involvement were intercepted, according to the official, however, he did say that it was likely due to the Russians being more careful in their communications, CNN reported.

"Russian Federation now has a lot to prove", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said.