CNN news 2017-05-12
And our first stop today is in the Middle East. Officials worldwide are investigating an attack that happened last week in Syria. Eighty-nine people were killed and dozens more injured in what witnesses say was an assault involving a chemical weapon. The U.S. and some other countries blamed Syria's government for it. Syria and Russia, its most powerful ally, have denied it, saying terrorist groups were responsible.
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIAN PRESIDENT: So, there was no order to make any attack. We don't have any chemical weapons. We gave up all our arsenals a few years ago. Even if we have them, we wouldn't use them. And we had never used our chemical arsenal in our history.
AZUZ: That was a clip from the Syrian leader's first interview since the attack was made. It was distributed by AFPTV, but the organization was not allowed to record the interview. Syria's government did.
President Assad's statements contradict the findings of the U.S. intelligence community. It said it intercepted communications between Syria's military and chemical experts discussing preparations for last week's chemical attack. U.S. officials have said there's no doubt that Syria's leader is responsible, but President Assad said the footage that appeared to show victims of the gas attack came from a terrorist organization and he casts doubt on its authenticity.
AL-ASSAD: About the attack, as I said, it’s not clear whether it happened or not, because how can you verify a video? We don't know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun. Were they dead at all?
AZUZ: British and Turkish authorities say their testing indicates a type of chemical weapon was used in the attack. And experts say only Syria's government would have been able to make that chemical or one like it.