Idlib massacre: Russia claims Syrian planes blew up warehouse containing toxic substances

At least 72 people have died in Idlib

Idlib, seen here following a devastating attack in March, has reportedly witnessed another attack this week, leaving at least 72 dead

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Russia has appeared to distance itself from the attack on Idlib this week, claiming the bombardment was carried out by Syrian planes and not its own.

The Russian government has also claimed the bombardment was not caused by chemical bombs, but rather by the destruction of a factory which housed "toxic substances."

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights reports that at least 72 people have died after strikes on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, followed by the bombardment of hospitals treating the wounded and a further attack today

The Khan Sheihoun offensive has been widely condemned as a deliberate chemical attack, but the Kremlin insists this is untrue. Instead, it has said, a "terrorist warehouse" was destroyed and the toxic weapons it had contained dispersed over the surrounding area.

The Russian defence ministry said the target was "a garage dedicated to the construction of handmade mines, with toxic substances." The weapons, it said, were intended for fighters in Iraq.

According to the ministry, Russian planes had nothing to do with the attack, as it was carried out by local Syrian government forces.

The ministry added that the sources of this information were "entirely reliable and objective," and insisted that the existence and use of this chemical arsenal "by terrorists has been proved on various occasions by official authorities and internatoinal agencies."

The ministry's statement made no reference to the alleged bombardment of hospitals, or today's attack.