The mission of the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW) fact-finding use of chemical weapons in Syria confirmed that the beginning of April, the Khan of Sheyhun was used sarin, Reuters reported, citing a copy of the report at the disposal of journalists.
«A large number of people, some of whom died, have been exposed to sarin or similar substances. The mission came to the conclusion that such emissions can only be explained by its use as a chemical weapons» – quoted by the RIA Novosti report.
Against this background, the U.S. state Department has accused Damascus in the fact that, despite the previously reached agreements, the program of creation of chemical weapons in Syria has not been eliminated.
A similar report was published OPCW on 19 April. But then was not published insights about the obvious military use of sarin.
April 4, 2017 in an airstrike and subsequent chemical contamination in Khan Sheyhun, in Idlib province, killed about 90 people (including 30 children), about 560 were hospitalized with poisoning, wounds and injuries. The US blamed the chemical attack on the Assad regime. The defense Ministry claimed that the Syrian air force bombed a weapons warehouse belonging to terrorists, and this has led to the contamination. Moscow later claimed that careful independent investigation of the incident before imposing any versions and accusations and accused Washington of reluctance to conduct such an investigation.
On the night of 7 April, the destroyers of the US Navy and Ross Porter has released 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase Shirt, located approximately 30 km from the city of HOMS. Shayrat air base was chosen as the object of a missile attack, because its Syrian aircraft used for flights on military operations in Idlib.
According to the Ministry of defense, 58 of the 59 cruise missiles struck the target. Two high-ranking representative of the military command, said on CNN that the missile strike was eliminated about 20 aircraft of the Syrian air force. Later, the Minister of defence of the USA James Mattis said that as a result of the missile strike on the airbase Shirt was destroyed 20% of the aircraft that were used by the Syrian air force. Also provided evaluation of the U.S. Department of defense, according to which the missile attack also caused significant damage to the air defense system fuel supply air bases and ammunition depots.
U.S. Department of defense emphasized that the missile attack was a response to the use of chemical weapons against civilians and that Syrian authorities will continue to be more careful with making decisions about such attacks.
CNN TV channel with reference to the analysts of IHS Jane’s noted that the Syrian air force to strike at the Sirat had 262 combat aircraft. However, the experts cannot answer the question of what percentage of this aircraft is serviceable and can be used for sorties. Also quoted the statement of the Ministry of defense of Russia, according to which only 23 American missiles hit targets on the airbase Shirt, destroying six MiG-23.
The U.S. defense Department has published satellite photos taken by DigitalGlobe, which displayed base Shirt after a us missile strike. By the pictures it was clear that the air base suffered significant damage, many of the bunkers is severely damaged or completely destroyed. According to experts ImageSat International, details studied the satellite images on the base Shirt was amazed at least 44 goals (some of them, apparently, repeatedly).
The us defense Department stressed that measures were taken in order to minimize casualties. In addition, it was noted that no blows were struck at the facilities where could hold the stockpiles of chemical weapons.
Social networks have been distributed photos and videos that made the Russian military and journalists, who arrived at the shayrat airbase after the missile strike for damage assessment. One of the bloggers drew attention to the fact that the photo shirt got containers like storage tanks for chemical weapons. Later, many commentators versed in the subject, said that, in fact, these pictures show universal containers for military aviation (BKF), which can be equipped fragmentation, cumulative or volume-detonating submunitions, similar containers can be used for chemical weapons, but it is unlikely that after use they just lay on the base. The defense Ministry has acted with a refutation of the fact that we are talking about containers for chemical weapons.
Before the missile strike on the Sirat, the US government warned of the impending sting operation not only partners in NATO and Israel, but also Russia, as the Shirt was used as the auxiliary base and the Russian military. Moscow informed Damascus, and, according to the command of the army of Syria, almost all the aircraft had to leave the airbase to strike. At the time of the missile strike on the base was the aircraft – whether it be faulty machinery or not, is unknown. Was not carried out and complete evacuation of personnel.
The command of the Syrian army at first said three, then six of the dead, without specifying whether it is military or civilians. Then the Syrian state Agency SANA, information was disseminated about the death of nine people, including four children. The news website «al-Masdar» (UAE) wrote that killed six servicemen, among which are not only Syrians. The accuracy of all published information about the losses is questionable.