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Tillerson: Russia 'bears responsibility' for Syrian chemical weapons attacks

25 January 2018

The conference also aims to produce a response to Russia's use of its veto against two resolutions on the matter in the UN Security Council.

As Tillerson claimed, "whoever conducted the attacks, Russian Federation ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in East Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons".

The French ministry said that the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons "in no way intends to replace existing international mechanisms, nor does it plan to conduct its own investigations".

Previous reports by the JIM have found that both the Syrian government forces and the Islamic State group in the country were using chemical weapons.

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Hundreds suffered symptoms consistent with a reaction to a nerve agent after the "suspected chemical attack" on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria, the BBC said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday said Russian Federation bore the responsibility of Syria's continued use of chemical weapons after aid workers earlier this week reported an attack in Eastern Ghouta, the last rebel bastion near Damascus. A day earlier, during remarks in London, the top US diplomat said the United States was "concerned" about the offensive against USA -backed Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria.

Jean-Yves Le Drian told the Paris meeting that, "faced by the recent banalisation of the proliferation and use of these odious arms, it is necessary to act". To do that, the United States will continue to deploy several thousand personnel in the country and help allied Syrian forces maintain control over enclaves in the southwest, near Israel and Jordan, and the northeast, on the border with Iraq and Turkey.

Last week Tillerson had warned that the USA would remain in Syria until the situation was stable enough to remove President Bashar Al-Assad from office.

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Russian Federation has proposed a new probe body under the auspices of the UN Security Council to determine the perpetrators of the April 2017 chemical attack in Syria that killed over 80 persons.

Hours before the conference, France said it froze the assets of 25 Syrian companies and executives, alongside French, Chinese and Lebanese enterprises that allegedly provided assistance to the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons.

Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, accused the US of promoting "rigged, unverified reports" about chemical weapons.

In late August a USA intelligence report says with "high confidence" that Syria's government carried out the attacks. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 13 people had suffered suffocation in the incident.

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A similar attack had targeted the outskirts of the same city, Douma, in the opposition-held Eastern Ghouta region on January 13, according to the monitor, which says seven people suffered breathing problems.

Tillerson: Russia 'bears responsibility' for Syrian chemical weapons attacks