Syrian airstrike hit chemical weapons workshop, says Russian Defence Ministry

Russian Major General Igor Konashenkov (© Sergei Bobylyov/Russian Defense Ministry's press service/TASS)

Workshops where chemical-laden projectiles were produced were targeted by the Syrian airstrike on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry said Wednesday.

The reports of a chemical attack in rebel-held Idlib’s Khan Sheikhoun town on Tuesday morning, resulted in the death of at least 58 people.

“According to Russian airspace monitoring systems, yesterday between 11.30 and 12.30 local time the Syrian aviation carried out an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun, targeting a major ammunition storage facility of terrorists and a cluster of military hardware. The territory of this storage facility housed workshops to produce projectiles stuffed with toxic agents,” Major General Igor Konashenkov said, as quoted by Russian state-run news agency TASS.

Konashenkov claimed chemical-laden weapons had been delivered to fighters in Iraq from the storage facility and that the projectiles were similar to those used in Aleppo last year.

“Video footage from social networks shows that those affected in Khan Sheikhoun demonstrate the same symptoms of poisoning as the victims of the Aleppo attack had last fall,” he said adding that Russia had handed over all information about the airstrike incident to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

A Free Syrian Army spokesman rejected claims that a building housing chemical weapons had been targeted.

The Syrian government has been accused of using chemical weapons before but has strongly denied claims.