A gas attack reportedly took place in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib on Tuesday, killing at least 58 people.
Syrian opposition claim that the alleged attack was caused by an airstrike carried out either by the Syrian government or Russian warplanes.
The Syrian military has categorically denied the accusations and Russia’s Defense Ministry has rejected the claim, saying, “Russian air force planes haven’t dealt any strikes on Khan Shaykhun in … Idlib.”
Following the attack, US Senator John McCain said that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must pay a price.
McCain called for Trump to say “we’re going to arm the Free Syrian Army, we’re going to dedicate ourselves to the removal of Bashar Assad, we’re going to have the Russians pay a price for their engagement. “
Various media outlets have also reported that a rocket has since hit a hospital where victims were being treated.
Press TV reports:
The Syrian military further blamed any use of chemical weapons on Syria’s opposition and those who support them, noting that militants fabricate accusations of toxic gas attacks to divert attention from their failures on the ground.
Meanwhile, Syria’s Foreign Ministry also issued a separate statement on Tuesday, strongly denying the use of poisonous gas in Khan Shaykhun or any other Syrian city or village by the country’s military and emphasizing that the Syrian Arab army did not possess any form of chemical weapons.
The statement took to task Syria’s terrorist groups and their foreign supporters for circulating false news about Syrian army’s chemical attack on in Idlib Province, noting that such claims were fabricated after terrorists lost considerable ground to Syrian forces in the battlefield.
The statement said false accusations were leveled against Syrian army following “considerable achievements by the Syrian Arab army and the allied forces in the war against terrorism during the previous days and weeks,” and on the eve of the European Union meeting on the situation in Syria.
“The Syrian Arab Republic stresses that these fabricated allegations will not prevent it from continuing its war on terrorists as well as their supporters and sponsors in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and some of the EU countries,” the statement said.
The suspected chemical attack targeted the Idlib town of Khan Shaykhun earlier on Tuesday followed by alleged airstrikes, which hit a hospital where victims of the assault were being treated.
According to RT a Syrian military source said that Damascus had not used chemical weapons and dismissed the accusations as rebel propaganda.
The army “has not and does not use them, not in the past and not in the future, because it does not have them in the first place,” the source said.
AFP also reported that a Syrian security source called the gas attack report a “false accusation.”
“Based on the reports it might be that the Syrian Army targeted a place that was used as a chemical weapons factory or that stocked chemicals by the rebels,” Jamal Wakeem, a professor of history and international relations at the Lebanese University in Beirut, told RT.
Wakeem said he doesn’t believe the Syrian Army would be so “desperate” as to use chemical weapons, given the fact that it has been “achieving major success on various fronts.”
He went on to state that although rebels have previously accused the Syrian government and Russian military of using chemical weapons, that news “turned out to be false,” noting that there was instead evidence that rebels had used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq.