During a meeting of its executive council called to discuss the Khan Sheikhoun attack, the USA ambassador, Kenneth D. Ward, said Syrian authorities "abetted by Russia's continuing efforts to bury the truth" still possess and use banned chemical weapons.
The White House report, however, cited "a wide body of open-source material" and "social media accounts" from the area occupied by foreign-backed militants in the country, including footage provided by the White Helmets rescue group, which has been documented to have ties with anti-Damascus militant groups as well as Western and Persian Gulf Arab governments backing the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A Syrian man receives treatment at a small hospital in the town of Maaret al-Noman following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Shaykhun, a nearby militant-held town in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, on April 4, 2017. Syria's compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention was certified by global observers in 2013, the Russian General Staff said, noting that this did not include two sites on territory controlled by the rebels. "Even if we have them, we wouldn't use them", he said.
Assad insisted it was "not clear whether it happened or not, because how can you verify a video?".
He said Khan Sheikhun had no strategic value and was not a battle front.
"Our firepower, our ability to attack the terrorists hasn't been affected by this strike", he said.
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Rycorft told the council "these have tested positive for the chemical nerve agent sarin or a sarin-like substance".
Assad said he would only allow an "impartial" external investigation of last week's suspected chemical attack.
"This incident is a sign of the coordination between the terrorist groups and the powers supporting them to find pretexts to frame the Syrian army and accuse it of using chemical weapons", the statement said, nearly a week after the opposition accused the Syrian government air force of firing toxic gas on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province.
The British statement comes a day after Turkey's Health Minister Recep Akdag said he was "certain" that Sarin gas was used in the attack, based on blood and urine samples. The delegation's mission is to unequivocally confirm whether or not chemical weapons were utilized without blaming any specific entity.
Its findings, expected in three to four weeks, will be passed to a joint United Nations-OPCW chemical weapons investigation.
Investigators determined in the past that during Syria's civil war, sarin, chlorine and mustard gas were used.