Chemical attacks in Syria since 2012

The Latest: UN chief says Syria attack is 'moment of truth'

April 05, 2017 - 4:11 am

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the suspected chemical attack in Syria, the deadliest in years (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres says the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria the day before is a "moment of truth" that must be investigated.

Hs remarks came as Syrian monitoring group said the death toll from the attack on a northern town the previous day has increased to 72 and activists reported renewed airstrikes on the same town.

Guterres told reporters at a Syria donor conference in Brussels on Wednesday that he hopes "this moment will be able to mobilize the capacity of all those that have responsibilities in this situation."

He says "the horrific events of yesterday demonstrate that unfortunately war crimes are going on in Syria, that international humanitarian law remains being violated frequently."

He added he is "confident that the Security Council will live up to its responsibilities," with major powers set to convene there later in the day.


9:50 a.m.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says that "all the evidence" he had seen so far in the latest chemical weapons attack in Syria "suggests this was the Assad regime who did it in the full knowledge that they were using illegal weapons in a barbaric attack on their own people."

Johnson also says that he does "not see how a government like that can continue to have any kind of legitimate administration over the people of Syria."

He added that he "would like to see those culpable pay a price for this."

Johnson spoke on Wednesday at the start of a Brussels pledging conference for Syria, where the United Nations, EU and world financial institutions have begun technical work to figure out what will be needed to rebuild war-ravaged Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 58 people died, including 11 children, in Tuesday's chemical weapons attack in a rebel-held town in northern Syria.


8:10 a.m.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says his government condemns in the strongest possible terms the chemical weapons attack against civilians, including children, at Khan Sheikhoun.

He said in a statement Wednesday that the use of chemical weapons is "illegal and abhorrent."

He said, "While the full facts are still to be determined, if the Assad regime is responsible for this attack those who approved and deployed these weapons must be held accountable."


4 a.m.

The Russian Defense Ministry says a rebel-held town in northern Syria has been exposed to toxic agents from a rebel arsenal hit by a Syrian air strike.

The ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said in a statement early Wednesday that the Russian military assets registered a Syrian air force strike Tuesday on weapons depots and ammunition factory on the eastern outskirts of the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Konashenkov said chemical weapons produced by the factory were used in Iraq.

He added that the same type of chemical weapons had been previously used by the rebels in Aleppo, where they had caused symptoms similar to those seen in images from Khan Sheikhoun.

Konashenkov said that Russia had provided relevant ground samples from Aleppo to the international chemical weapons watchdog.

The Russian statement follows an international outcry over what was described as a chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 58 people died, including 11 children.

Both Russia and Syria both have denied launching the chemical attack.

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