Syria formally asks UN to probe gas attack

Syria formally asks UN to probe gas attack

The announcement comes two weeks after a deadly chemical attack in Syria's Idlib which killed almost 90 people.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis initially said 20 percent of Syria's air force had been destroyed in the cruise missile attack, but later backtracked and said that 20 aircraft had been rendered inoperable.

The Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, as well as a number of Western states, accused the Syrian government troops of carrying out the attack, while Damascus refuted these allegations, with a Syrian army source telling Sputnik that the army did not possess chemical weapons.

The Syrian government has asked the United Nations to send experts to investigate the alleged chemical attack in Idlib province, but the request remains unanswered due to pressure from USA and other Western countries, Syrian president Bashar Assad told Sputnik in an exclusive interview.

This frame grab from video provided on Tuesday April 4, 2017 shows a Syrian doctor treating a boy following a suspected chemical attack, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria.

In a television appearance, French Foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault said an investigation into the gas attack is now underway by French intelligence services and military intelligence.

Israeli estimates of Assad's current chemical weapons stockpile add to questions raised after the sarin gas attack.

The U.N.'s chief humanitarian adviser for Syria says aid agencies have been able to reach fewer besieged people with relief this year compared to the same period last year. What's the material? You have no information at all, nothing at all.

The convoy of buses containing 3,000 evacuees, a mix of pro-regime fighters and residents from government-held Foua and Kefraya, was halted near the rebel-held transit point of Rashidin on the outskirts of Aleppo yesterday, due to heightened security measures following Saturday's deadly attack on a previous convoy.

The governing body of the global chemical arms watchdog is expected to vote on a fresh investigation.

Assad insists his regime handed over all chemical weapons stockpiles in 2013, under a deal brokered by the regime's key ally, Russia, to avoid threatened United States military action.

However, Moscow has criticised the OPCW for not sending experts to the attack site, saying it was "unacceptable to analyse events from a distance".

But OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu said a team was ready to head to the town "should the security situation so permit".

"I am told that this would require a 48-hour ceasefire and safe passage for the team to be arranged", he said.

Additional reporting from IRN.