Lab tests ‘confirm’ sarin gas used in Idlib attack, Turkish health minister says

Laboratory results of victims of a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian province of Idlib have confirmed the use of sarin gas, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag said Tuesday.

Several Syrians were brought to Turkey for treatment following the Idlib incident, but died of the injuries they sustained, according to the health ministry. Turkish officials conducted autopsies attended by representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

“As a result of blood and urine samples taken from the victims subjected to the use of chemical war material in Idlib, Isopropyl methylphosphonic acid, the metabolite of sarin gas, was confirmed,” Akdag said as quoted by the media outlet.

On 4 April, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces said that some 80 people were killed and 200 injured earlier that day in a chemical weapons attack in the Idlib province, blaming the Syrian army for the incident. The Syrian foreign minister denied the government’s involvement in the Idlib incident, saying it had never nor would it ever use chemical weapons on either civilians or terrorists operating in the country.

Earlier this year, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the country’s government had never used weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, against the Syrian people. Under a Russian-US deal after the east Ghouta sarin gas incident in 2013, Damascus joined the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and agreed to destroy its stockpile under the oversight of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), who had announced in January 2016 that all chemical weapons in Syria had been destroyed.