The White House has published a four-page National Security Council document detailing the Trump administration’s assessment that the Syrian army was responsible for the chemical weapons attack on the population of the north Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun that killed up to one hundred people last Tuesday. The document exposes Russia and Syria as sources of fake news about the massacre.
The declassified NSC report begins by stating that the United States is confident the Syrian regime used the nerve gas sarin in the attack on the town in Idlib Province on April 4, 2017.
“We are confident in our assessment because we have signals intelligence and geospatial intelligence, laboratory analysis and physiological samples collected from multiple victims, as well as a significant body of credible open source reporting, that tells a clear and consistent story,” the document states before explaining that some details about the chemical attack need to remain confidential to protect sources and methods.
The NSC document reveals that the attack was carried out by two Syrian SU-22 warplanes that took off from the Shay’rat air base that was later bombed by the U.S. Navy with 59 cruise missiles last week.
The report states that two jets were in the airspace above Shaykhun 20 minutes before the first reports about a chemical attack on the town came. Additionally, Syrian experts on chemical weapons had been spotted at the airbase at the end of March presumably to prepare the chemical attack.
The NSC document then describes how social media reports including many uploaded videos of victims of the attack delivered the evidence of a chemical attack, adding that they are certain the opposition could not have fabricated all these videos and other reporting of the attack.
The report points to an analysis by the World Health Organization published on April 5 that said the victims had been exposed to a “nerve agent” while international medical experts in the area confirmed the WHO findings and said they had found symptoms of “exposure of a neurotoxic agent, such as Sarin.”
“The Syrian regime and its primary backer, Russia, have sought to confuse the world community about who is responsible for using chemical weapons against the Syrian people in this and earlier attacks,” the dossier then says before giving examples of the fake news coming out of Russia about the massacre.
“Russia’s allegations (about the U.S. spreading lies about the chemical attack and use it as an excuse to attack Assad’s army) fit with a pattern of deflecting blame from the regime and attempting to undermine the credibility of its opponents,” the document states.
The report concludes with a call for international action against the Assad regime and its allies.
“This is a critical moment – we must demonstrate that subterfuge and false facts hold no weight, that excuses by those shielding their allies are making the world a more dangerous place, and that the Syrian’s regime use of chemical weapons will not be permitted to continue.”
The NSC document was published a few hours after Associated Press reported that Recep Akdag the Turkish Minister of Health had said that “blood and urine samples taken from victims proved they had been exposed to sarin.”
The samples were taken during autopsies on three victims of the chemical attack who were transferred to Turkey for medical treatment after the sarin attack on Shaykhun in Syria.
Click here for full text of the NSC document.