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Report: Assad Linked To Syrian Chemical Attacks For First Time

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)

Reuters is reporting that international investigators have said for the first time they suspect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his brother were responsible for the use of chemical weapons during the conflict in Syria.

Previous reports prepared for the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had only identified military units without naming specific individuals.

The news agency reported on January 13 that a list has now been produced of individuals linked by investigators to chlorine bomb attacks in 2014-15.

Assad, his younger brother Maher, and other high-ranking figures are included on the list, which Reuters said it has seen but which has not been made public.

The list was based on evidence gathered by a UN-OPCW team in Syria and from Western and regional intelligence agencies, according to Reuters, which said it was unable to independently review or verify the evidence.

Reuters said the Assads could not be reached for comment, but it cited a Syrian government official as saying accusations that government forces had used chemical weapons had "no basis in truth."

Based on reporting by Reuters