A report by French intelligence services blames the regime of Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack in rebel-held Idlib province in northern Syria that killed 87 people, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Wednesday.
The analysis of samples taken at the scene of the April 4 attack in the Idlib town of Khan Sheikhoun showed “there is no doubt that sarin gas was used,” Ayrault told journalists after presenting a declassified report compiled by French intelligence services.
Ayrault said that France now knows “from sure sources” that “the manufacturing process of the sarin that was sampled is typical of the method developed in Syrian laboratories.”
He added that “this method bears the signature of the regime and that is what allows us to establish its responsibility in this attack.”
The report said jihadist groups in the area did not have the capacity to develop and launch such an attack and that ISIS was not in the region.
Assad’s claim to AFP news agency on April 13 that the attack was fabricated, was “not credible” given the mass flows of casualties in a short space of time arriving in Syrian and Turkish hospitals as well as the sheer quantity of online activity showing people with neurotoxic symptoms, said the six-page document.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the airstrike that the United States launched at a Syrian military base earlier this month damages the prospects of a political settlement for the war-torn country.
The airstrike was in response to Idlib’s chemical attack that Washington blamed on the Syrian regime.
Lavrov told a security conference that the US response “pushes the prospect for a wide international front on terror even further away.”
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier on Wednesday Russia had to boost security measures at its air base in Syria after the airstrike. Russia has provided an air cover for the regime’s offensive on moderate rebels and ISIS jihadists.