Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has dismissed reports that last week’s devastating chemical attack was carried out by his regime as ‘100% fabrication.’
In an exclusive interview with AFP, the Syrian leader rubbished claims that he was responsible for the deaths of more than 80 people during a chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April.
He said: ‘There was no order to make any attack, we don’t have any chemical weapons. We gave up our arsenal three years ago. Even if we had them, we wouldn’t use them. We have never used our chemical arsenal in our history.’
Hitting out at the United States, which launched a follow-up attack on a Syrian airbase last week, he added: ‘The west, mainly the United States, is hand in glove with the terrorists.
‘They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack. It wasn’t an attack because of what happened in Khan Sheikhoun.
‘For us, it is 100% fabrication.’
Despite Assad’s insistence, the US, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and chemical weapons inspectors have all cast scepticism over the claim.
Yesterday, Russia, Syria’s key ally, went against the US, France and the UK by vetoing a UN draft resolution that would have required Assad’s government to take part in an investigation into the attack.