The world's chemical weapons watchdog said the banned nerve agent sarin was used in an attack in northern Syria in April that killed dozens of people, a report from a fact-finding team seen by Reuters on Thursday showed. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
Confirmation the banned nerve agent sarin was used in an attack in northern Syria that killed dozens of people. The findings came in a report prepared by a fact-finding team for the world's chemical weapons watchdog. The document seen by Reuters was circulated to members of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. The attack in April on the town of Khan Sheikhoun killed more than 80 people. Many of them children. Since then, inspectors from the OPCW have interviewed witnesses and examined samples. The mission was unable to visit the site itself due to security concerns. But concluded "a large number of people, some of whom died, were exposed to sarin or a sarin-like substance". Crucially though, the inspectors did not try to decide who was responsible. But UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has no doubt the finger points at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: "As it happens there is abundant evidence that shows it is exactly the same Sarin that we know to have been in the possession of the Assad regime. That will now be established by the joint investigative mechanism - I'm absolutely convinced - when that happens we will be able to go forward to prosecute our ambition which is to hold responsible those who have done it, with sanctions and as you know that's coming up at the next European Council, the Americans have already put their own sanctions on." Damascus has repeatedly denied any responsibility. The incident prompted the United States to fire cruise missiles at the Syrian government airbase it said was used to launch the attack. Now a joint United Nations and OPCW investigation will determine who is to blame.