On Wednesday, Major-General I Ye Konashenkov, Head of the Minoborony Rossii Department of Information and Mass Communications, said:
According to Russian aerospace monitoring systems, yesterday between 11.30 and 12.30 local time, Syrian aircraft carried out an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhun, targeting a major terrorist ammunition storage facility and military equipment dump. This storage facility housed workshops to produce projectiles filled with toxic agents. From this major arsenal, the militants delivered chemical munitions to Iraq. International organisations and [Syrian] official sources confirmed their use on numerous occasions. These projectiles were similar to those used by militants in Aleppo, where Russian military specialists recorded their use. Video footage from social networks shows that those affected in Khan Sheikhun demonstrate the same poisoning symptoms as the victims of the Aleppo attack last autumn. Russia handed over all information about the incident to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is still studying them. We assure you that this information is completely unbiased and true.
Earlier on Tuesday, citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Reuters reported that an airstrike by either Syrian or Russian aircraft in Idlib Governate left 58 people dead, including 11 children. Reuters alleged that Syrian government forces probably carried out the strike, using an unknown “toxic gas”. The Minoborony Rossii immediately rejected the information as “fake”, adding that none of its planes had struck Khan Sheikhun or its outskirts. The Syrian Defence Ministry blamed the attack on terrorists or their supporters and rejected any use of toxic agents in Khan Sheikhun. The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the accusations against Damascus were “fabricated”. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in an interview with al-Mayadeen radio said that the government warned that such an attack was possible several weeks ago.
5 April 2017