The Syrian government carried out a deadly sarin gas attack, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nation's Joint Investigative Mechanism.
The joint report confirms President Bashar al-Assad's forces were behind the April 4 chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun — a city held by civilian forces opposing his regime — that left nearly 100 people dead. The JPCW already confirmed attackers used sarin gas, which is a war crime.
The report confirms what many Western powers already agreed on, but Syria's ally Russia won't be so easy to convince. Assad still says the government wasn't behind the attack. Both Russia and Syria have claimed the attack was entirely fabricated. And Russia questioned the investigators' objectivity, pointing to "many inconsistencies" in the report.
Before the report was released, Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution to extend JIM investigations in Syria for another year. The country wanted to wait and see the report before voting to extend investigations.
That veto counts as the ninth time Russia has shielded Syria from U.N. action.
On the issue, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said: "Time and again, we see independent confirmation of chemical weapons used by the Assad regime. And in spite of these independent works, we still see some countries trying to protect the regime. That must end now."