Syria's Assad still has chemical weapons, says Israel

Assad has strongly denied he was behind the attack in the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria's northern Idlib province, and has accused the opposition of trying to frame his government.

But the global community has overwhelmingly placed blame for the chemical weapons attack on the Assad regime.

He told media Syria's military gave up all its chemical weapons in 2013 "and would not have used then anyway". CNN bases its report on comments by two US defense officials.

Three senior defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters that Israeli intelligence believed Syrian military commanders had ordered the devastating attack with Assad's knowledge.

The estimate marked the first specific intelligence assessment of Syria's military and weapons capabilities since a chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 that killed some 90 people, including dozens of children, Deutsche Welle.com reported. For many, the US strikes on a Syrian air base two days later were a satisfying response and long overdue in a protracted, deadly civil war that has left millions of families shattered, Daesh emboldened and Assad seemingly immune. The U.S. responded by firing 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the air base where the Syrian attack originated. According to USA estimates, more than 1,000 people were killed.

Last Thursday, Syria's president Bashar al-Assad said in an interview that reports of the chemical attack were "fabricated".

And the British delegation to the OPCW said in a tweet that Wednesday's talks showed "once again clear support for the ongoing FFM investigation into the attack". The OPCW was in 2013 responsible for overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapon stockpile, following an attack in the Ghouta area of Damascus that activists say killed 1,400 people. President Trump stated that the United States would not get involved with Syria, but would continue attacks if the use of chemical weapons is repeated. But doubts began to emerge soon afterward that not all such armaments or production facilities were declared and destroyed.

Former Brig. Gen. Zaher al-Sakat said the Syrian government still possessed hundreds of tons of chemical weapons.

The missile strike was the first direct USA military action against Assad's forces since the start of Syria's civil war six years ago and precipitated a downward spiral in ties between Washington and Moscow.