Later Turkey’s health ministry said 31 people injured in the attack who had been taken across the border showed signs of being exposed to the nerve agent sarin. “Evidence was detected in patients which leads one to think they were exposed to a chemical substance [sarin],” the ministry said in a statement.
As evidence mounted confirming the use of chemical weapons, so did western pressure for some response. Donald Trump warned that the strike had changed his view of the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad.
France’s foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said Paris was trying to persuade the security council to pass resolution but it was “difficult”. He said: “France is still seeking to talk with its partners on the security council, especially the permanent members, and Russia in particular.”
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said it was a “scandal” that the UN’s security council had not passed a resolution on the attack.
The medical results from Turkey came as the Syrian foreign minister denied that his government used chemical weapons in the attack, or had used them before, despite reports from UN investigators confirming previous chemical attacks by both the Syrian government and Islamic State troops.
Speaking to reporters in Damascus, Walid al-Muallem said: “The Syrian Arab Army has never used chemical weapons and will not use chemical weapons against Syrians and even against terrorists.”