UNITED NATIONS, The Syrian government and the Islamic State (IS) were responsible for using chemical weapons in the country, according to findings of an investigation mandated by the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
The IS used sulfur mustard in a September 2016 attack in Umm Hawsh and the Syrian government was responsible for the release of sarin in an April 2017 attack in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria, said Edmond Mulet, head of the Joint
Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations.
"There has been sufficient evidence of a credible and reliable nature to make its findings," Mulet told the Security Council on Tuesday.
He said that despite the challenges of investigating complex cases during an armed conflict, JIM has taken great care to ensure that its methodology and findings were technically and scientifically sound.
A survivor of the Assad regime's suspected chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria
Although it was too dangerous to visit Umm Hawsh and Khan Sheikhoun, the panel considered that sufficient information had been gathered to come to a solid conclusion.
He said JIM conducted its work "in an independent, impartial and professional manner." On April 4, over 80 people were killed in a suspected chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, a rebel-held area in north-western Syria.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later stressed that the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun town was fabricated.
There was no toxic attack in Khan Sheikhoun town, Assad said, charging that the United States and the Western powers have prevented an investigation team from coming into Syria to look into the allegation, "because the team will find that all the narrative about what happened in Khan Sheikhoun was mere lies."
The Syrian Foreign Ministry said "the Syrian army doesn't possess chemical weapons and hasn't used them before in any Syrian city."
Two women were injured in the Umm Hawsh incident - a mustard gas attack - on Sept. 16, 2016.