Syria rejects U.S. accusations of chemical weapons use

Syria rejects U.S. accusations of chemical weapons use

However, the Syrian Negotiations Commission (SNC), an opposition group, said chemical weapons had been used by the government of Bashar al-Assad in Ghouta. The officials say the militants are using shells or improvised explosive devices to deliver the chemicals.

President Donald Trump ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base last April following a deadly sarin gas attack in Idlib, which the White House blamed on the Syrian government.

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

The Syrian government rejected US allegations on Saturday that it had used chemical weapons to attack rebel-held Eastern Ghouta last month.

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But the United Nations found that Syrian government forces were responsible for chlorine attacks in Syria in 2014 and 2015, as well as sarin use in 2017.

"We are on the record and you all have seen how we reacted to that, so they would be ill-advised to go back to violating the chemical (weapons) convention", Mattis said.

The Syrian American Medical Society says its hospitals in the area treated 11 patients for chlorine gas poisoning.

Syria had agreed in 2013 to give up its chemical weapons to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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

The officials also say the Islamic State group keeps using chemical weapons such as sulfur mustard and chlorine. In the past two years, a joint United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inquiry found the Syrian government used the nerve agent sarin and several times used chlorine as a weapon.

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