Erdogan blames 'murderer Assad' for Syria chemical attack

Erdogan blames 'murderer Assad' for Syria chemical attack
The Turkish president called Bashar al-Assad a "murderer" blaming the Syrian president for the chemical weapons attack that killed scores of people, including children, in rebel-held town on Tuesday.
2 min read
05 April, 2017
Erdogan is a vocal critic of Syrian President Assad [Getty]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the Syrian regime for the deadly chemical weapons attack that killed scores of people including children, calling President Bashar al-Assad a "murderer".

"Hey murderer Assad, how are you going to escape from their curse?" Erdogan said at a rally in the western city of Bursa, referring to the victims.

At least 72 people, among them 20 children, were killed in Tuesday's attack in rebel-held Khan Sheikhun, and dozens more were left gasping for air, convulsing and foaming at the mouth, doctors said. 

Erdogan, in his first public reaction to the incident, said that over 100 people, including children, "became martyrs due to chemical weapons".

The World Health Organization said there was reason to suspect a chemical attack, with some victims displaying symptoms suggesting exposure to "a category of chemicals that includes nerve agents."

The UN Security Council was meeting on Wednesday to discuss a draft resolution presented by Britain, France and the United States that urges a swift investigation into the attack.

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Erdogan, a vocal critic of Assad, also denounced the world's "silence" on the killings.

"Hey, the world that remains silent, the United Nations that remains silent. How will you be brought to account for this?" Erdogan said.

Russia, Assad's main ally, has said a Syrian airstrike had hit a "terrorist warehouse". Erdogan made no reference to the Russian claim.

Turkey also said that about 30 people were being treated in Turkish hospitals after the attack, adding that it had evidence the strike was caused by chemical weapons.

The wounded were brought from Idlib through Turkey's Cilvegozu border gate for the treatment in the Reyhanli district of Turkey's southern Hatay Province.

"We are doing our best but that's not enough," he said. "They are our kids, our brothers. I am sad as a father."