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Syria’s foreign minister has claimed his country never used and will not use chemical weapons in Syria.
It is reported that autopsies conducted on three Syrians brought to Turkey after the assault in Idlib province that killed 86 people showed they were subjected to a chemical weapons attack, according to Turkey’s justice minister.
The statement came as international outrage grew over the attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria.
France foreign minister called for President Bashar Assad’s government to be prosecuted over its alleged use of chemical weapons.
The Syrian government has denied it carried out any chemical attack on the town in Idlib. Though people on the ground suspect nerve agent sarin has been used – it can kill in less than 10 minutes.
A Syrian child receives treatment after an alleged chemical attack at a field hospital in Saraqib, Idlib province, northern Syria, 04 April 2017 (Picture: EPA)
Sarin can permeate skin, membranes and lungs or it can be mixed into water.
It doesn’t always kill, though with fatal doses deaths are almost never immediate.
After exposure, victims suffer an often long and always excruciating pain. If they are lucky the effects of the gas will eventually wear off, otherwise they will perish.
Within a few seconds of being exposed to sarin, it inhibits control of smooth muscles – an involuntary tissue which ensures organs like the stomach, intestines and bladder work effectively – and uncontrollable secretions begin, eyes water uncontrollably, saliva and vomit is emitted from the mouth and the bowel and bladder also evacuate.
Vision is blurred and breathing is restricted due to a painfully tight chest.
If someone has been exposed to a lethal amount of sarin, the body will start to violently convulse and become paralysed.
Chemical attacks can kill within 10 minutes.
Syrian foreign minister Walid Moallem repeated his denial today, telling reporters in Damascus that his government never used and will not use chemical weapons in Syria.
‘The Syrian Arab Army has never used chemical weapons and will not use chemical weapons against Syrians and even against terrorists,’ Mr Moallem told the news conference.
State-run Anadolu and the private DHA news agencies in Turkey quoted justice minister Bekir Bozdag as saying that ‘it was determined after the autopsy that a chemical weapon was used’.
Turkish officials say that close to 60 victims of the attack were brought to Turkey for treatment and three of them died.
Nikki Haley, United States’ Ambassador United Nations, shows pictures of Syrian victims of chemical attacks as she addresses a meeting of the Security Council on Syria at U.N. headquarters (Picture: AP)