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UN-OPCW Report Blames Syrian Government for Khan Sheikhoun Gas Attack

Oct. 27, 2017 (EIRNS)—The United Nations-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (UN-OPCW) Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) sent its report on the April 4 Khan Sheikhoun incident and, not surprisingly, it blames the Syrian government for the alleged attack using Sarin gas. According to the Associated Press, the report said that the JIM experts talked with 17 witnesses in addition to those interviewed by the OPCW fact-finding mission and collected and reviewed material the OPCW did not have. It said the experts also obtained "substantial information" on activities by the Syrian air force on April 4. However, experts said they received "conflicting information" about aircraft deployments in the town that morning and that none of the flight records provided by the Syrian government even mentioned Khan Sheikhoun.

Russia has been highly critical of the UN-OPCW investigation, in part because the investigators refused to visit either the site of the attack or the airbase from which it was supposedly launched, but said little about the report yesterday. A spokesman for the Russian Mission at the UN said that Russian experts had "started to scrutinize" the report but that it would take some time because of its complex technical nature. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, however, that its "logical inconsistencies, internal contradictions are visible even after the first cursory reading."