Syrian president Bashar al Assad says a deadly toxic gas attack widely blamed on his forces is a “100% fabrication”.
Speaking in his first interview since the incident, Mr Assad said he gave “no order to make any attack” and claimed “even if we had (chemical weapons) we wouldn’t use them.”
The Syrian leader said it was unclear who carried out the attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April, which killed more than 80 people.
Syrian children being treated for exposure to chemical weapons that fell fro the sky on Khan Sheikhun, Syria, April 4, 2017
He added that videos showing children dying from the attack were “propaganda” designed to prompt the retaliatory US missile strike two days later.
Mr Assad told AFP TV: “It’s not clear whether it happened or not, how can you verify a video? There are a lot of fake videos now.
“We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun. Were they dead at all?”
He added he would only allow an investigation into the attack “when we make sure that unbiased countries will participate in this delegation in order to make sure that they won’t use it for politicised purposes.”
On Wednesday, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolutiondemanding a probe – prompting Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to say Moscow had put itself “on the wrong side of the argument”.
Earlier, Britain’s ambassador to the UN said that UK analysis of samples from Idlib province had detected sarin or a sarin-like substance.
However, Vladimir Safronkov, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, said he was “amazed at this conclusion”.