Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Sarin or similar toxin used in Idlib attack: chemical watchdog

While we are all feeling a gut-level satisfaction that the USA finally bombed Syria - sending a message to Bashar al-Assad, whose brutal repressions turned peaceful protests in favor of greater democracy into a civil war that is destroying his country - two authoritative assessments examine the intelligence that concluded that Assad was responsible for the horrific sarin attack on April 4.

The Foreign Secretary was encouraged on Tuesday to explain how Assad could be punished for using chemical weapons without allowing a "virulent Islamist regime" to replace him.

'The essential thing will be to have a political process that preserves the institutions of the Syrian state while decapitating the monster'.

Underlining an open support for USA strikes, Johnson claimed it helped "create an opportunity to break the deadlock" and pave the way for a political settlement and a truce, following a succession of failed cease-fires.

"We know beyond doubt that two Sukhoi-22 aircraft took off from Shayrat airfield where we know that chemical weapons are stored", Johnson said.

Mr Johnson also suggested that Britain could support the United States in the event of further missile strikes on Syria. Burt asked what the United Kingdom government's reaction would have been if, instead of just hitting Syria's Shayrat airfield on April 7, Washington chose to first enlist military help from Britain.

In 2013, the House of Commons voted against airstrikes in Syria and the U.S., under President Barack Obama, also decided against direct military action against Mr Assad.

Johnson called on Russian Federation to end its "blind support" for Assad and help towards a political solution to the six-year Syrian civil war.

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