A declassified report by the French government presents evidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical attack against civilians last week, The Hill reported.
According to the report, the government of President Bashar al-Assad carried out several chemical strikes in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7.
What is the evidence?
The report stated it is based on “multiple media sources, the reported symptoms experienced by victims, videos and images showing two assessed barrel bombs from the attack, and reliable information indicating coordination between Syrian military officials before the attack.”
At least 42 men, women and children died in the attacks and dozens of others were injured, according to published reports. Medical crews reported that victims experienced skin burns, suffocation, breathing problems and other symptoms related to exposure to chlorine gas. Symptoms were also consistent with exposure to Sarin, a deadly nerve agent.
“Reliable intelligence indicates that Syrian military officials have coordinated what appears to be the use of chemical weapons containing chlorine on Douma, on April 7,” the report released by the French Foreign Ministry said.
According to the report: “Syrian government has carried out a number of chemical weapons strikes since April 4, 2017 — the same day a chemical attack in Syria’s northern Idlib province left more than 80 civilians dead.”
The U.S. government has also pointed to the Syrian government’s role in alleged attacks in Douma.
Russia has criticized the U.S. and its allies by saying they have produced adequate proof that Syria carried out the chemical attack.
France and the U.S. made their assessments hours after leaders from Washington, Paris and London authorized “precision strikes” on targets in Syria that are believed to be “associated with the country’s chemical weapons arsenal,” The Hill reported.
Russia has accused the U.S. and its allies of failing to produce adequate evidence of the Syrian government’s role in the chemical attack.
What have Syria, Russia and Iran said?
Syria, Russia and Iran have all denied that Assad’s government used chemical weapons. They blame militant groups and “foreign actors” for staging the alleged attacks in Douma.
U.S. leaders have said the attacks were designed to take out Syria’s chemical weapons supply.
Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, said Saturday damage was done to Syria’s chemical arsenal, but they may be able to rebuild it through elements that were left behind.
President Donald Trump and other U.S. leaders have indicated further action is possible if Assad’s regime takes any additional action.