Syria chemical attack allegation 'credible': watchdog

17 April, 2017, 05:28 | Author: Essie Rivera

He also alleged that last week's chemical weapons attack was a fabrication to justify the U.S. military strike.

Lavrov called on the USA not to repeat the airstrikes, which he said were part of efforts to oust Assad that won't succeed. "They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack", Assad charged. The U.S. strike, accompanied by hardening American rhetoric on the Syrian president's future, also dragged U.S. relations with his ally, Russia, to their lowest level since the Cold War.

Russia, a close ally of Syria, on Wednesday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution which sought to condemn the killings and call on the Assad regime to cooperate with an global investigation into the attack.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson look at each other as they shake hands after the news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

"You have a lot of fake videos now", he said, according to AFP. "Were they dead at all".

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. It said that its air strikes hit an arms depot containing toxic gas and blamed the rebels for storing such chemical materials.

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"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.

Russia, Syria and Iran strongly warned the United States Friday against launching new strikes on Syria and called for an worldwide investigation of the chemical weapons attack there that killed almost 90 people.

A British delegation at the world's chemical weapons watchdog said on Thursday that samples taken from the attack site tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.

On Wednesday, Russia vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution which called for a speedy investigation into the Idlib incident. And U.S. analysts say the timeline and strike location suggested by Russian Federation don't match reports from the ground or satellite imagery.

The Syrian leader questioned whether the attack had in fact occurred, claiming that "fake videos" and "propaganda" were being used against his government.

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, has said that America is prepared to take further action if necessary.

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