Turkiye, Middle East

Autopsies show chemical weapons used in Syria: Minister

Turkish justice minister says autopsies on Idlib victims done with members of WHO and UN chemical weapons body observing

Autopsies show chemical weapons used in Syria: Minister


Autopsies done in Turkey of the victims of Tuesday’s deadly attack on civilians in Idlib, Syria show that chemical weapons were used, Turkey’s justice minister said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in the central Anatolian province of Kirikkale, Bekir Bozdag said tests were conducted on three bodies taken to Turkey from Idlib in northwestern Syria.

“These scientific tests reveal that Assad used chemical weapons,” he added, speaking of the Syrian regime leader.    

Bozdag noted that the autopsies were done in the presence of representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The public prosecutor’s office in the southern city of Adana also said in a statement that the tests were done by Turkish forensic experts along with Annette Heinzelmann of the WHO and Sahar Yazbek and Sami Berrak from the OPCW.

The victims whose bodies were autopsied were named as Asma Al Hasan (35 years old), Said Huseyin (26), and Muhammad Awad (25), all of whom were brought to Turkey on Tuesday following the deadly attack, the statement read.

Tests were done at the city’s forensic institute under the supervision of the prosecutor’s office, it added.

Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag said the autopsies had been performed by the Turkish experts, and the officials from the WHO and OPCW had been invited to "help prove the atrocity to the whole world".

Akdag urged the United Nations and other global powers to “stop” this crime.

“Turkey is doing all that it can. We are providing all kinds of support. We opened our doors to the injured. They are being treated with utmost care,” he said, calling on the WHO to "speak up".

“WHO should not be an organization which just works to help out after such incidents happen. It should do its part to prevent them," he said.

On Tuesday, more than 100 civilians were killed and 500 others, mostly children, were injured in an attack allegedly carried out by Assad regime warplanes, according to the Syrian interim government's health minister, Firas Jundi.

The attack attracted widespread international condemnation and calls for the Assad regime to be held accountable.

Last year, a UN-appointed investigation panel found that chemical weapons were mainly used by regime forces in 2014 and 2015. However, no actionable steps were taken.

Reporting by Zekeriya Karadavut and Fatih Gokmen; Writing by Sorwar Alam

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