Paris to 'Prove' Damascus behind Chemical Attack, OPCW Confirms Sarin Used
The head of a global arms watchdog said Wednesday that "incontrovertible" test results from an alleged chemical strike in Syria showed sarin gas or a similar substance had been used.
Samples from 10 victims of the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhun analyzed at four laboratories "indicate exposure to sarin or a sarin-like substance," said Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The suspected attack on the rebel-held town in Idlib province killed at least 87 people, including many children, and images of the dead and of suffering victims provoked global outrage.
Samples had been taken from three people who died in the attack, and were analyzed at two OPCW-designated laboratories, Uzumcu told delegates to the OPCW's executive council on Wednesday, according to a statement from the watchdog.
Another set of bio-medical samples from seven people being treated in hospitals were also analyzed in two other labs.
"While further details of the laboratory analyses will follow, the analytical results already obtained are incontrovertible," Uzumcu told the meeting of the body's executive council which resumed Wednesday at its headquarters in The Hague.
A fact-finding mission set up by the OPCW is ready to deploy to the town "should the security situation permit," he said, adding the team was continuing to conduct interviews, and collect samples.
The executive council is to meet again on Thursday to vote on a draft decision which is being discussed.
Earlier in the day, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Paris will produce proof "in a few days" that the regime of Bashar al-Assad was behind a chemical strike in Khan Sheikhun.
"We have elements that will allow us to show that the regime knowingly used chemical weapons," Ayrault said.
"In a few days I will be able to bring you the proof," he told French television.
In an exclusive interview last week with AFP in Damascus, Assad said the suspected chemical attack was a "fabrication" to justify a U.S. missile strike on Syrian forces.
"Definitely, 100 percent for us, it's fabrication," he said.
Western leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump have accused Assad of being behind the attack in the rebel-held town, saying his forces used a chemical weapon during an air strike.