By Adenike Lucas, Christian Smith and Abdul Tukur
The Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad has denied that his government was responsible for a poison gas attack that killed dozens of civilians in the Idlib province last week.
In a first interview granted since the attack, Mr Assad told the news agency Agence France-Presse, AFP, that the allegation made against his government was “100 percent made up.”
He told AFP that the country had given up its chemical arsenal in 2013, adding, “even if we have them, we wouldn’t use them.”
The United State said the Syrian government carried out the chemical attack that left 89 people from the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun dead but Mr Assad denied it.
Mr Assad accused the West of making up events in Khan Sheikhoun so as to the attack the government’s Shayrat airbase.
“It’s stage one, the play [they staged] that we saw on social network and TVs, then propaganda and then stage two, the military attack,” he said, questioning the authenticity of the video footage.
He also said Khan Sheikhoun, in Syria’s north-western Idlib province, had no strategic value and was not currently a battlefront. “This story is not convincing by any means.”
Last night, Russia, a key ally of Mr Assad vetoed a UN resolution that demanded an investigation into the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria.