Assad to blame for chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, says UN

The seven-year civil war in the Middle Eastern country has killed more than 400,000 people

This attack was part of a Syrian regime "pattern of using chemical weapons against civilians in opposition-held areas", United Nations investigators said.

A previous investigation by chemical weapons inspectors had identified the use of sarin at Khan Sheikhoun but did not say who was responsible.

The report also found that U.S. forces failed to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians and civilian objects when attacking alleged terrorists and destroying part of a mosque complex in al-Jinah, Aleppo, in March, in violation of worldwide humanitarian law.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied responsibility for the April 4 attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the rebel-held Idlib province that killed dozens of people, including children.

The Khan Sheikhoun attack was just one of 33 chemical weapons attacks that it has documented.

In its latest report, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria charts the major trends and patterns of global human rights and humanitarian law violations committed between March and July 2017.

The Commission is gravely concerned that this offensive has led to the internal displacement of some 190,000 persons, with the fate of some 20,000 others precarious as they remain trapped in ar-Raqqah city, many of them civilians that ISIL reportedly forced to concentrate in areas under its control.

At least 83 people were killed during the attack.

March 3, 2017: The OPCW says it is examining allegations of eight toxic gas attacks in Syria since the beginning of the year.

October 21, 2016: The UN-led Joint Investigative Mechanism says that of nine alleged chemical attacks it is examining, three can be attributed to the Syrian government and one to ISIS jihadists.

After a few days of high political and diplomatic tension between the USA and Russian Federation (which strongly backs the Syrian regime), Washington and Moscow strengthened their political and military agreement in Syria in the name of "the fight against terrorism", thereby aiding Syrian government forces directly and indirectly in various areas of conflict. It said its strikes in Khan Sheikhun hit a weapons depot belonging to rebel forces, a claim "excluded" by commission Chairman Paulo Pinheiro at a news conference in Geneva. "It is our task to verify these allegations, and we concluded. that this attack was perpetrated by the Syrian air force".

In its most important direct finding of banned chemical weapons use by the regime, an inquiry today dismissed alternative theories promoted by the regime, Russian Federation and some journalists for the deaths in Khan Shaykhun, near Hama, on April 4.

Investigators were not granted access to Syria and based their report on photos of bomb remnants, satellite imagery and witness accounts.

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