Published: Mon, February 05, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

USA says Syria may be developing new types of chemical weapons

USA says Syria may be developing new types of chemical weapons

However, the Syrian Negotiations Commission (SNC), an opposition group, said chemical weapons had been used by the government of Bashar al-Assad in Ghouta.

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

On Friday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Washington was "concerned" about the use of sarin in Syria, but could not confirm reports from NGOs and militant groups regarding the use of the toxic gas.

If the global community does not act quickly to step up pressure on Assad, Syria's chemical weapons could spread beyond Syria and possibly even "to U.S. shores", a second official said.

The officials reiterated US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent accusation that Russia, Assad's ally in Syria's multisided civil war, bears some responsibility for failing to enforce the chemical weapons ban.

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

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

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

The US officials claimed that Syrian armed forces have "evolved" their chemical weapons and occasionally used them in smaller amounts since 2017.

The officials say it's "highly likely" that Syria kept a stockpile of weapons.

Syria's Foreign Ministry has dismissed as "null and void" US accusations that President Bashar Assad's government is producing and using "new kinds of weapons" to deliver deadly chemicals despite committing to abolish its program in 2013. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.

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