Syria may be developing new chemical weapons, senior USA officials say

02 February, 2018, 21:43 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Syrian regime targets E. Ghouta with gas White Helmets

A United Nations report from September determined that Assad's forces had used chemical weapons dozens of times during the civil war, including a deadly toxic gas attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in April, which killed at least 80 civilians.

TRUMP administration officials claim the Syrian Government may be creating new kinds of chemical weapons, despite a 2013 agreement to destroy such a program.

If necessary, the Trump administration is prepared to take military action against Syrian government forces to deter the use of chemical weapons, senior USA officials said on Thursday.

Senior US officials reported that the Syrian regime might be developing new types of chemical weapons, and that if necessary, President Donald Trump will take military action.

"Chemical weapons are being used in Ghouta and we have proof", SNC spokesman Yahya al-Aridi told Reuters.

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The Trump administration is reportedly warning Syria that if reports of chemical weapon attacks continue, it will strike like it did in April. In April of 2017, Trump ordered an attack on a Syrian airbase after a chemical attack blamed on the Syrian regime in Khan Sheikhun.

Several children were also affected, the group said. "We will pursue accountability", she said, writing on Twitter.

Rather, the officials said Assad's forces are using the same chemicals - chlorine and sarin - but in more sophisticated ways, potentially to evade global accountability by making the origins of attacks harder to trace.

"It will spread if we don't do something", warned an official who wanted to remain anonymous.

Damascus has denied using any chemical weapons in the seven-year conflict, blaming the rebels on using it on themselves.

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Mattis, speaking with reporters, said the Syrian government had repeatedly used chlorine as a weapon.

A second official said, however, that the Trump Administration hopes that stepped-up worldwide sanctions and diplomatic pressure will help rein in Assad's chemical weapons programme. The officials noted that the underlying chemicals are easy to acquire or produce, and said the US does not believe ISIS has gotten a hold of military stockpiles in either Iraq or Syria.

Rescue workers and medical groups working in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, have accused government forces of using chlorine gas three times over the last month, including early on Thursday.

The reports could not be independently verified and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria via activists on the ground, was unable to confirm the reports either.

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