Saturday 20 January 2018

This time Putin may have pushed too far by aiding regime

President Bashar al-Assad. Photo: AP
President Bashar al-Assad. Photo: AP

Con Coughlin

No matter how hard Russia and its Syrian allies try to deny their involvement in the chemical weapons attack on Idlib, all the available intelligence shows they were directly responsible for committing a war crime that has claimed at least 86 lives.

The immediate insistence by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out the "barbaric attack" on its own people was based on the detailed intelligence briefing from senior MI6 officers yesterday morning as he prepared to fly to Brussels for a donors' conference.

While categorical evidence is always hard to acquire in an active warzone like Syria, intelligence officials in both the US and Britain believe there is already sufficient material available to blame the atrocity directly on the Assad regime and its Russian protectors. A regime warplane was identified operating in the area at the time the attack took place.

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