AUTOPSIES conducted on three Syrians brought to Turkey after the assault in Idlib province that killed 86 people show they were subjected to a chemical weapons attack, according to Turkey’s justice minister.
The statement came as international outrage grew over the attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria.
In France, the country’s foreign minister called for President Bashar Assad’s government to be prosecuted over its alleged use of chemical weapons. The Syrian government has denied it carried out any chemical attack on the town in Idlib.
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Foreign minister Walid Muallem reiterated that stance yesterday, telling reporters in Damascus that his government never used and will not use chemical weapons in Syria.
“The Syrian Arab Army has never used chemical weapons and will not use chemical weapons against Syrians and even against terrorists,” Muallem told the news conference.
But Turkish justice minister Bekir Bozdag said: “It was determined after the autopsy that a chemical weapon was used.” Turkish officials say that close to 60 victims of the attack were brought to Turkey for treatment and three of them died.
Tuesday’s attack happened just 60 miles from the Turkish border, and the Turkish government set up a decontamination centre at a border crossing in the province of Hatay, where the victims were initially treated before being moved to hospitals.
Russia’s defence ministry said the toxic agents were released when a Syrian air strike hit a rebel chemical weapons arsenal and munitions factory on the town’s outskirts.