Syria Blasts US Accusations on Chemical Weapons Use as 'Lies'

Violet Powell
February 5, 2018

The U.S. has no evidence to confirm reports from aid groups and others that the Syrian government has used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday.

Mattis says it is clear that Assad's government has weaponized and used chlorine gas in the Syrian civil war.

The Syrian government denied the accusations, saying it's rebels who mounted the attack to frame the government and draw in a military action from the US.

He said that non-governmental organizations and fighters on the ground in Syria had reported sarin use, and that the USA was looking into the matter.

The Syrian American Medical Society said its hospitals in the area treated 11 patients for chlorine gas poisoning, according to AP.

Declining to specify how serious a chemical attack would have to be to draw a fresh United States military response the U.S. official said,"We reserve the right to use military force to prevent or deter the use of chemical weapons".

In his remarks Friday, Mattis alluded to the April attack, saying, "So they'd be ill-advised to go back to violating" the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.

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France said on Friday it was "deeply concerned" that Syria's government was flouting its pledges to stop using chemical weapons and Paris was working with its partners to shed light on recent suspected toxic gas attacks.

Tillerson said is violating a 2013 agreement it made with the US on the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and is helping the Syrian government breach the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans their use.

In June past year, the fact finding team of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), published the results of its probe of the April 4 incident confirming that the nerve gas sarin was used in Khan Shaykhun incident.

Washington said this week that it could consider military action against the Syrian government if it continued to use chemical weapons.

In 2013, Syria said it would give up all of its chemical weapons.

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