France says will prove 'in a few days' that Assad regime launched chemical attack on Idlib

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
PARIS
Published 19.04.2017 19:49
Updated 19.04.2017 19:52
Photo shows a Syrian doctor treating a child following a suspected chemical attack, at a makeshift hospital, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province. (AP Photo)
Photo shows a Syrian doctor treating a child following a suspected chemical attack, at a makeshift hospital, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province. (AP Photo)

France will produce proof "in a few days" that the regime of Bashar Assad launched a chemical strike on a Syrian village that killed 87 people earlier this month, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Wednesday.

"We have elements that will allow us to show that the regime knowingly used chemical weapons," Ayrault said of the suspected chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4.

"In a few days I will be able to bring you the proof," he told French television.

In an exclusive interview last week with AFP in Damascus, Assad said the suspected chemical attack was a "fabrication" to justify a U.S. missile strike on Syrian regime forces.

"Definitely, 100 percent for us, it's fabrication," he said.

World leaders including President Erdoğan and U.S. President Trump have accused Assad of being behind the attack in the opposition-held town, saying his forces used a chemical weapon during an air strike.

The suspected attack killed at least 87 people, including many children, and images of the dead and of suffering victims provoked global outrage.

The missile strike was the first direct U.S. military action against Assad's forces since the start of Syria's civil war six years ago and precipitated a downward spiral in ties between Washington and Moscow.

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