The Syrian chemical weapons attack last Tuesday blamed on the Assad regime was “100 percent” a “fabrication,” Syrian leader Bashar Al Assad said in an interview Wednesday with AFP.
The embattled Syrian president argued he never ordered the attack on the Idlib province which left some 80 dead, and said western-backed forces were benefitting ISIS terrorists in the area.
“Definitely, 100 percent for us, it’s fabrication,” Assad said.
“Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack,” Assad said.
“The US and the West, they are not serious about fighting the terrorists. And yesterday some of their statesmen were defending ISIS. They were saying ISIS doesn’t have chemical weapons. They are defending ISIS against the Syrian government and the Syrian army.”
Assad also claimed his country had given up its chemical arsenal years ago, and questioned whether the attack even took place, saying such videos had been staged in the past.
“You have a lot of fake videos now,” the Syrian president said. “We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhun. Were they dead at all?”
“There was no order to make any attack, we don’t have any chemical weapons, we gave up our arsenal a few years ago.”
Syria has denied its use of chemical weapons, and claimed deaths last week may have resulted from a strike on a rebel held arms depot which contained “toxic substances.”
Assad’s comments arrive nearly a week after US President Donald Trump ordered a strike on the Sharyat air force base, which Assad says inflicted little damage.
“Our firepower, our ability to attack the terrorists hasn’t been affected by this strike,” he said, calling the attack “very barbaric.”
The remarks echo statements from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who indicated earlier this week he also believed the attack to be a “false flag” provocation.
“We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one – and I cannot call it otherwise – are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus,” Putin said during a joint press conference.
Many in the United States, including former Congressman Ron Paul, have also questioned why Assad would have launched an attack on his own people which seemed to have little to no political benefit.
“It doesn’t make any sense for Assad under these conditions to all of a sudden use poison gases – I think there’s zero chance he would have done this deliberately,” Paul said last week.