Johnson: All evidence points to Assad behind chemical attack in Syria

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Johnson: All evidence points to Assad behind chemical attack in Syria

The Foreign Secretary calls a chemical attack in Syria that killed dozens of people, including children, a “barbaric act”.

07:59, UK,
Wednesday
05
April
2017


Syrian children receive treatment following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun,  in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province

Video:
Distressing images: Children killed in Syria ‘chemical attack’

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Boris Johnson has said all evidence suggests Bashar al Assad forces were behind a chemical attack that killed dozens of people in Syria.

The Foreign Secretary called the attack on Tuesday a “barbaric act” likely carried out by the Assad regime “on their own people”.

“All the evidence I have seen suggests this was the Assad regime … using illegal weapons on their own people,” Mr Johnson said as he arrived for a Syrian aid conference in Brussels.

Earlier, the Russian defence ministry had said the horrifying injuries sustained by dozens of people, including women and children, appeared consistent with weapons previously used by rebels.

The attack struck the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 58 people died, including 11 children.

The Union of Medical Care Organisations, a coalition of international aid agencies that funds hospitals in Syria, said at least 100 had been killed.

Dozens of children were hurt in the suspected gas attack
Image:
Dozens of children were hurt in the suspected gas attack

Footage from the area showed people choking and fainting in the aftermath of the attack, with some victims left foaming at the mouth.

Rescue workers hosed down children to wash away any chemicals from their skin and gave them oxygen.

Syria has been accused before of using chemical weapons but the Kremlin has now attempted to at least partially absolve its ally of responsibility as international condemnation grows.

US President Donald Trump denounced it as a “heinous” act that “cannot be ignored by the civilised world”.

A rescue worker breathes through an oxygen mask after a 'chemical attack' in Idlib
Image:
A rescue worker breathes through an oxygen mask after a ‘chemical attack’ in Idlib

The UK, France and the US have proposed a UN Security Council resolution to “condemn in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons”.

The draft calls on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to quickly reveal its findings on the attack in Idlib province.

A Syrian man in taken by civil defence workers following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun
Image:
A Syrian man in taken by civil defence workers following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun

It also urges UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report monthly on whether the Syrian government is co-operating with an international inquiry into the use of chemical weapons.

The resolution is likely to be put to a vote when the UN Security Council holds an emergency meeting on Wednesday.

However, it is unclear what the UN will be able to do given Russia and China have consistently opposed taking action against the Syrian regime.

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