France’s national intelligence service has conclusively linked the Assad regime in Syria to a chemical weapons attack against civilians earlier this month.
The report, the first such intelligence brief made publicly available since the incident on April 4th, links the chemical substance used on the town of Khan Sheikhoun with a previous attack executed by the Syrian regime.
“We have definite sources that the procedure used to make the Sarin sampled is typical of the methods developed in Syrian laboratories,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. “This method bears the signature of the regime, and that is what has allowed us to establish its responsibility in this attack.”
Over 80 civilians were killed in the attack, which drew attention back to the Syrian Civil War and universal condemnation from the international community. President Donald Trump directly cited the incident as justification for his cruise missile attack on Syrian regime targets.
The French report goes further, calling into question the sincerity of Syrian regime assertions to remove chemical weapons stockpiles. A previous joint pact signed by then-Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had claimed just that in 2013; it has since been determined that the pact was meant only for the publicly “declared” weapons held by the Syrian regime.
French intelligence determined that the Assad regime was responsible for the use of Sarin at Khan Sheikhoun by securing a sample and noting that it contained a key ingredient called hexamine, introduced solely by a previous Syrian weapons program called the Syrian Scientific and Research Center.
Further dispelling theories put forth by Syrian and Russian authorities, the French report posits that an airstrike on a terrorist chemical weapons supply, as Russia continues to insist happened, could not have delivered the specific kind of Sarin that was uncovered. It also analyzes the delivery methods of this particular chemical, concluding that no terrorist organization or other armed group fighting the Assad regime has the capability for aerial weapons release.
Image courtesy of ABC News