UN, OPCW Experts Blame Regime for Khan Sheikhoun Sarin Attack

This photo provided April 4, 2017 by the Syrian anti-government activist group Edlib Media Center, shows a Syrian doctor treating a child following the chemical attack, at a makeshift hospital, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria.(AP Photo)
This photo provided April 4, 2017 by the Syrian anti-government activist group Edlib Media Center, shows a Syrian doctor treating a child following the chemical attack, at a makeshift hospital, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria.(AP Photo)
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UN, OPCW Experts Blame Regime for Khan Sheikhoun Sarin Attack

This photo provided April 4, 2017 by the Syrian anti-government activist group Edlib Media Center, shows a Syrian doctor treating a child following the chemical attack, at a makeshift hospital, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria.(AP Photo)
This photo provided April 4, 2017 by the Syrian anti-government activist group Edlib Media Center, shows a Syrian doctor treating a child following the chemical attack, at a makeshift hospital, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria.(AP Photo)

Investigators from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have blamed a sarin nerve gas massacre in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun on Bashar al-Assad's regime.

More than 87 people died on April 4 when sarin gas projectiles were fired into Khan Sheikhoun, which is a rebel-held town in northwestern Idlib province.

Images of dead and dying victims, including young children, in the aftermath of the attack provoked global outrage and a US cruise missile strike on the regime air base of Shayrat. 

The report supports the initial findings by the US, France and Britain that a Syrian military plane dropped a bomb with sarin on Khan Sheikhoun.

Syria and Russia, its close ally, have denied any attack and have strongly criticized the Joint Investigative Mechanism, known as the JIM, which was established by the UN and OPCW to determine responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

"The panel is confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Sheikhun on 4 April 2017," the report, seen by news agencies, said.

Responding to the report, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said: "Today's report confirms what we have long known to be true. Time and again, we see independent confirmation of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime."

Clearly referring to Russia, she said: "In spite of these independent reports, we still see some countries trying to protect the regime. That must end now."

The Security Council should make it clear that "the use of chemical weapons by anyone will not be tolerated," Haley added.



Netanyahu Says Israel Winding Down Gaza Operations. A Lebanon War Could be Next

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)
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Netanyahu Says Israel Winding Down Gaza Operations. A Lebanon War Could be Next

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the current phase of fighting against Hamas in Gaza is winding down, setting the stage for Israel to send more troops to its northern border to confront Hezbollah.
The Israeli leader said in a lengthy TV interview that while the army is close to completing its current ground offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, that would not mean the war against Hamas is over. But he said fewer troops would be needed in Gaza, freeing up forces to battle Hezbollah.

“We will have the possibility of transferring some of our forces north, and we will do that,” he told Israel’s Channel 14, a pro-Netanyahu TV channel, in an interview that was frequently interrupted by applause from the studio audience. “First and foremost, for defense,” he added, but also to allow tens of thousands of displaced Israelis to return home.

Netanyahu said he hoped a diplomatic solution to the crisis could be found but vowed to solve the problem “in a different way” if needed. ″We can fight on several fronts and we are prepared to do that,” he said.
He said any deal would not just be “an agreement on paper.” He said it would require Hezbollah to be far from the border, an enforcement mechanism and the return of Israelis back to their homes. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated shortly after the fighting erupted and have not been able to go home.

Hezbollah has said it will continue battling Israel until a cease-fire is reached in Gaza. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, warned Israel last week against launching a war, saying Hezbollah has new weapons and intelligence capabilities that could help it target more critical positions deeper inside Israel.