France offers evidence Syria was behind nerve gas attack

April 26 (UPI) — The French government has proof indicating the Syrian air force dropped bombs containing the nerve gas Sarin on a civilian population, it said Wednesday.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said samples taken from the April 4 attack on rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun bear the same chemical signature of Sarin made by the Syrian government, and match samples from a prior chemical attack.

The report by France’s intelligence agency, declassified Wednesday, concludes that the Sarin was manufactured by the Syrian government. It said the Sarin found in Khan Sheikhoun was produced in the same process as Sarin found in an unexploded grenade dropped by a Syrian government helicopter in 2013.

At least 87 people died, and hundreds more exhibited symptoms of a reaction to a nerve agent, in the attack. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has dismissed the incident as a fabrication. Last week the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons also announced it has “incontrovertible” evidence that Syria conducted the attack.

“Neither do the French services assess that the theory of a staged attack or manipulation by the opposition is credible, particularly because of the massive influx in a very limited time towards hospitals in Syria and Turkey, and the simultaneous, massive uploading of videos showing symptoms of the use of neurotoxic agents,” the report said.

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