Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed during an interview aired Thursday that a chemical weapons attack last week that left dozens of his people dead was merely a “fabrication.”
The United States has said Assad’s government is responsible for the chemical attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun. Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters earlier this week, “I have personally reviewed the intelligence and there is no doubt the Syrian regime is responsible for the decision to attack and for the attack itself.”
However, during an interview with the AFP — which CNN notes was “conducted under restrictions imposed by” Assad’s regime — the Syrian president claimed that reports about the attack on his people were false.
“It’s not clear whether it happened or not,” Assad said. “‘Cause how can you verify a video? You have a lot of fake videos now, and you have the proof that those videos were fake.”
He additionally claimed that the “humanitarian heroes” depicted in the video were members of the terrorist group al Qaeda who “shave their ” in order to disguise themselves.