Pentagon Chief: No Evidence of Recent Sarin Gas Use by Syria

02 February, 2018, 21:42 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • An injured Syrian man receives treatment at a hospital after shelling on civilian areas in Douma Eastern Ghouta

The Syrian government has repeatedly used chemical weapons in attacks on opposition-held areas, according to the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, whose latest report, released last September, notes the use of weaponized chlorine in East Ghouta.

Bashar al-Assad's forces have instead "evolved" their chemical weapons, and used them in smaller amounts.

Last April, the USA military fired a barrage of missiles into Syria's Shayrat Airfield in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that killed about 100 civilians.

"They'd be ill-advised to go back to violating the chemical convention", Mattis said Friday, referring to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.

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The officials said the administration was prepared to take military action to deter the use of such weapons in Syria's near seven-year civil war.

"All of the countries condemned [chemical] gas use", Laith said, "but the regime continues to bomb us".

Russian Federation is Syria's closest ally, and has previously blocked attempts to investigate the suspected use of chemical weapons.

However it was "highly likely" that Syria had stockpiled some of its weapons after the 2013 intervention, the Trump administration officials said in a briefing reported by Reuters.

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A Civil Defence member carries a damaged canister in Ibleen village from what activists said was a chlorine gas attack, on Kansafra, Ibleen and Josef villages, Idlib countryside May 3, 2015. Nearly all independent analysts and investigators agree the Syrian regime is the culprit of the chemical attacks.

"This conference is tailor-made for Assad and his terrorist regime", said Mustafa Sejari, a senior official in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group that operates in northern Syria and added that "the Sochi statement does not concern us and is not even a subject of discussion".

American officials emphasized on Thursday that the United States was seeking a new way to hold chemical weapons-users accountable and wanted cooperation from Russia, Assad's patron, in pressuring him to end the attacks.

Rescue workers and medical groups working in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, have accused government forces of using chlorine gas three times over the last month, including early on Thursday.

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Douma is in the Eastern Ghouta, a suburb east of Damascus where nearly 400,000 people have been under siege by the Syrian government and allied militia since 2013.

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