June 30 (UPI) -- Syrian citizens were exposed to sarin gas in an April attack that killed more than 90 people, a report by a global chemical weapons watchdog said.
Released Thursday by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the report said the group's fact-finding mission established that people were exposed to the banned chemical weapon in an attack in Khan Shiekhoun, a rebel-held area of Syria's Idlib province on April 4. The group was not charged with identifying who exposed the population to the gas, outlawed as a weapon of war, but the Syrian government under President Bashar al-Assad has been blamed in the past for similar use of the chemical.
"The exact responsibility for dropping the sarin will now go to a joint investigative mechanism to be confirmed but I've got absolutely no doubt that the finger points at the Assad regime," said Boris Johnson, Britain's foreign secretary.
The French government announced on April 25 that it had proof indicating the Syrian air force dropped bombs containing the nerve gas sarin on the civilian population. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said samples taken from the Khan Sheikhoun attack bear the same chemical signature of sarin made by the Syrian government, and match samples from a prior chemical attack.
"We have definite sources that the procedure used to make the Sarin sampled is typical of the methods developed in Syrian laboratories. This method bears the signature of the regime, and that is what has allowed us to establish its responsibility in this attack," the French announcement said.
The report by France's intelligence agency, declassified Wednesday, concludes that the sarin was manufactured by the Syrian government and that the chemical found in Khan Sheikhoun was produced in the same process as sarin found in an unexploded grenade dropped by a Syrian government helicopter in 2013.
After the OPCW report was released, Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement: "Now that we know the undeniable truth, we look forward to an independent investigation to confirm exactly who was responsible for these brutal attacks so we can find justice for the victims."