Syrian Presidency via AP

President Bashar al-Assad told AFP that last week's chemical weapons attack is "100 percent fabrication," and that the U.S. concocted the whole story in "order to have a pretext" for the missile strike on his forces.

"There was no order to make any attack. We don't have any chemical weapons. We gave up our arsenal three years ago. Even if we had them, we wouldn't use them. We have never used our chemical arsenal in our history, said Assad. "Our impression that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack."

An important detail: The AFP said that during the TV interview, the Syrian government wouldn't let them use their own cameras — only cameras belonging to the Syrian government were allowed. And afterward, the government only gave AFP the tape of the first 5 questions and answers.

Meanwhile: Samples taken from the attack in Syria tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, the British delegation at the world's chemical weapons watchdog said on Thursday, per Reuters.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 12,009,301 — Total deaths: 548,799 — Total recoveries — 6,561,969Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 3,053,328 — Total deaths: 132,256 — Total recoveries: 953,420 — Total tested: 37,532,612Map.
  3. Public health: Houston mayor cancels Republican convention over coronavirus concerns Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: United warns employees it may furlough 45% of U.S. workforce How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: New York City schools will not fully reopen in fallHarvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.

Transcripts show George Floyd told police "I can't breathe" over 20 times

Photo: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Newly released transcripts of bodycam footage from the Minneapolis Police Department show that George Floyd told officers he could not breathe more than 20 times in the moments leading up to his death.

Why it matters: Floyd's killing sparked a national wave of Black Lives Matter protests and an ongoing reckoning over systemic racism in the United States. The transcripts "offer one the most thorough and dramatic accounts" before Floyd's death, The New York Times writes.

5 hours ago - Health

Fighting the coronavirus infodemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An "infodemic" of misinformation and disinformation has helped cripple the response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: High-powered social media accelerates the spread of lies and political polarization that motivates people to believe them. Unless the public health sphere can effectively counter misinformation, not even an effective vaccine may be enough to end the pandemic.