USA defense secretary says Syria dispersed warplanes, retains chemical weapons

USA defense secretary says Syria dispersed warplanes, retains chemical weapons

USA defense secretary says Syria dispersed warplanes, retains chemical weapons

The "forthright words on the part of President Trump and very forthright deeds against the use of chemical weapons by Iran's proxy, Syria", Netanyahu said, have "been appreciated around the world and in our region". Jordan is also part of a USA -led military coalition against Islamic State extremists and has carried out airstrikes on IS targets in Syria and Iraq.

Syria's military is ready to halt fire around the rebel-held town hit by a suspected chemical attack if experts are sent in to conduct a probe, Russia's defence ministry said today. It was the first specific intelligence assessment of President Bashar Assad's weapons capabilities since a deadly chemical attack earlier this month. Assad, backed by his ally Russian Federation, has strongly denied the allegation that his forces used chemical weapons against the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun on April 4, describing it as a "100 percent fabrication".

One official said the sanctions will primarily target weapons manufacturers believed to aid Assad's use of chemical weapons.

Assad has rejected the accusation that he was behind the attack in the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria's northern Idlib province, and has accused the opposition of trying to frame his government.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that his country welcomes the change in American foreign policy heralded by President Donald Trump. Before the start of their talks, Netanyahu said he was optimistic about relations between the two countries under the new U.S. administration.

French elections: Macron favourite but Le Pen can't be counted out
Le Pen called for the expulsion of terror suspects and the immediate closure of France's borders after Thursday's attack. Sunday's result marked the first time that no major-party candidate would contest the second-round vote.

In response to the April 4 attack, the United States fired 59 missiles at a Syrian air base it said was the launching pad for the attack.

More recently, sanctions were expanded in connection with its civil war, now in its sixth year, to target offenses linked to the ongoing violence and human rights abuses.

Moscow's attempts to start a new probe came as OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu said that "incontrovertible" test results showed sarin gas or a similar substance was used. But doubts began to emerge soon afterward that not all such armaments or production facilities were declared and destroyed. The fighting has killed an estimated 400,000 people and displaced half of Syria's population.

There also is evidence that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group and other armed anti-government groups have acquired chemical weapons.

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