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Syria rejects United States accusations of chemical weapons use

05 February 2018

The Syrian foreign ministry denied on Saturday US allegations it had used chemical weapons against rebel-held Eastern Ghouta enclave near Damascus, saying the accusations were "lies" without evidence.

US Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said Friday that the US is concerned over the "possibility" of the use of sarin gas in Syria and that it is "looking for the evidence". If it can not support a future Security Council resolution to that end, it should abstain, Tillerson said.

This suggests that Russian Federation has been negligent in destroying the chemical weaponry as previously negotiated in 2013 as well as failed to follow through on its agreement of the UN Security Council Resolution 2209, a resolution that holds it accountable for enforcing the restriction of chemical weaponry in Syria as long as it occupies the region.

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"There is simply no denying that Russian Federation, by shielding its Syrian ally, has breached its commitments to the United States as a framework guarantor" of the 2013 agreement, Tillerson said.

"The sarin gas attacks that they are claiming don't even occur".

The U.S. has sought to step up pressure on the Syrian government in recent weeks over its use of chemical weapons. United Nations efforts to punish perpetrators in Syria have failed, repeatedly blocked by Russian Federation.

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Syrian activists said on Sunday that civilians have suffered chlorine gas poisoning during an attack on the rebel-held town of Saraqeb in Idlib province, The Associated Press reported.

The US officials further said that Syrian authorities appeared to have embraced ground-based means for launching chemical strikes rather than the air attacks because the ground-based operations are hard to detect.

The officials also say Syria may be making new kinds of weapons, either to improve their military capability or to escape global accountability.

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On Thursday, the Trump administration accused Assad of producing and using "new kinds of weapons" to deliver deadly chemicals.

Syria rejects United States accusations of chemical weapons use