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US reportedly has intercepts of Assad military discussing sarin attack with chemical experts

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A CNN report out Thursday effectively puts to rest any doubts about whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was responsible for last week’s chemical attack that killed 87 people, including small children.

A senior U.S. official told the network communications between Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the sarin attack were intercepted.

More from CNN:

The intercepts were part of an immediate review of all intelligence in the hours after the attack to confirm responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in an attack in northwestern Syria, which killed at least 70 people. US officials have said that there is “no doubt” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the attack.

The US did not know prior to the attack it was going to happen, the official emphasized. The US scoops up such a large volume of communications intercepts in areas like Syria and Iraq, the material often is not processed unless there is a particular event that requires analysts to go back and look for supporting intelligence material.

 

The CNN report comes on the same day The Sun reported Assad completely denied the chemical attack.

“Definitely, 100 percent for us, it’s fabrication… Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists,” the Syrian president said.

“They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack,” he added.

The Russian government also denied Syrian involvement in the attack, but President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the Pentagon is looking into the possibility of Russian complicity, CNN reported.

“I would like to think that they didn’t know, but certainly they could have,” he said. “(Defense Secretary) Gen. (James) Mattis is looking into it with the entire Pentagon group that does that kind of work.”

A Russian drone was reportedly flying over a Syrian hospital that was bombed after the initial chemical attack, according to CNN:

Tom Tillison

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