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Bashar Assad asks UN to probe suspected chemical attack

Syrian president Bashar Assad has formally asked the United Nations to send in experts to investigate the April 4 suspected chemical attack.

In an interview with the Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday, he said the UN has not sent anyone yet and blamed Western nations and the United States in particular for not allowing the experts to travel to Syria.

He insisted that if the experts arrive, they will conclude reports of what happened in Idlib province "were all lies".

Meanwhile, t he Russian military has questioned the conclusions of the international chemical weapons watchdog that victims of the attack were exposed to sarin or a similar toxin.

Defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov questioned how the samples were collected and how the analysis could have been done so quickly.

He said he would like to receive answers to his questions as soon as possible.

Mr Konashenko said only by carrying out an objective investigation on the spot can the truth be established about what happened in the Khan Sheikhun area of Idlib and who was responsible.

The US and many other nations have accused the Syrian government of responsibility.

Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said on Wednesday that the results "from four OPCW-designated laboratories indicate exposure to sarin or a sarin-like substance".

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