Chemical attack in Syria fabricated: Assad

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Damascus, April 22 (IANS) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stressed that the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun town was fabricated, and a bunch of lies.

There was no toxic attack in Khan Sheikhoun town, Xinhua news agency quoted Assad as saying.

Charging that the US and the Western powers have prevented an investigation team from coming into Syria to look into the allegation, “because the team will find that all the narrative about what happened in Khan Sheikhoun was mere lies.”

Two weeks ago, the US launched 59 missiles on a Syrian air base in Homs province in central Syria, in retaliation to an alleged chemical attack launched by the Syrian air force on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, during which over 70 people were said to had been killed.

The Syrian government completely rejected the accusations, saying it is not in possession of chemical weapons and that there was no need to resort to such option as the Syrian army was advancing and using such tactic will do a big harm.

Asked about the Syrian air defenses, prior to the American strike against the Shayrat air base in Homs two weeks ago, Assad said the rebels’ main target was the Syrian air defenses, noting that the country lost 50 per cent of the air defense capacity during the war.

He noted, however, that negotiations are ongoing with Russia to buy new air defense systems.

“This is the case always, before and through the war, of course we have become in need for more weapons after the war, and this is part of the daily relations between the Syrian and Russian defense ministries,” the president said.

–IANS

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