TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Over 80 people died in the April 4 purported gas attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib Province, which the Western countries blamed on the Syrian government.
Using the incident as a pretext, US warships fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea at the Shayrat airfield in Syria’s central province of Homs on April 7. US officials claimed that the suspected Khan Shaykhun gas attack had been launched from the military site.
Seymour M. Hersh investigated the case of the alleged Sarin gas attack.
According to his report, Trump turned a blind eye to reports by the US intelligence community that warned that there was no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.
The US intelligence found that Syrians had targeted on April 4 a meeting site of Takfiri militants, using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives.
A senior adviser to the American intelligence community said Trump's national security planners “asked the CIA and DIA if there was any evidence that Syria had sarin stored at a nearby airport or somewhere in the area."
"Their military had to have it somewhere in the area in order to bomb with it,” after being ordered by Trump to plan for retaliation against Syria, the report said.
“The answer was, ‘We have no evidence that Syria had sarin or used it,’” the adviser said.
“The CIA also told them that there was no residual delivery for sarin at Sheyrat [the airfield from which the Syrian SU-24 bombers had taken off on April 4] and Assad had no motive to commit political suicide,” the adviser added.
American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all US, allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region, were also reportedly briefed by the Russians on the details of the Syrian attack days in advance.
Trump’s decision to ignore the evidence distressed some American military and intelligence officials. One officer told colleagues upon learning of the decision to attack that "none of this makes any sense."
"We KNOW that there was no chemical attack ... the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth ... I guess it didn't matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump,” the officer said.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says Israel and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri militant groups wreaking havoc in the country.
The Syrian government turned over its entire chemical stockpile under a deal negotiated by Russia and the United States back in 2013.
The Syrian stockpile of chemical weapons was surrendered in a joint mission comprising representatives of the UN and the OPCW in 2014.