Pentagon Chief: No Evidence of Recent Sarin Gas Use by Syria

Pentagon Chief: No Evidence of Recent Sarin Gas Use by Syria

Pentagon Chief: No Evidence of Recent Sarin Gas Use by Syria

The Syrian army has used chemical weapons several times since April and may have also been developing new types of chemical weapons, a senior United States official said on Thursday.

Russian Federation is Syria's closest ally, and has previously blocked attempts to investigate the suspected use of chemical weapons.

The officials weren't authorized to discuss the assessment on the record and briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Previous attacks on January 22 and January 13 caused symptoms consistent with chemical exposure in more than two dozen civilians.

The claims come amid reports of continued chemical attacks in Syria.

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

Doctors at the Specialized Hospital removed the patients' clothing, which "smelled of bleach", and put them on nebulizers, Abu Salem said. The scientists said the samples also matched those taken from the site of another alleged chemical attack a year ago.

However, a senior official said the Trump administration is hopeful this time that more sanctions and diplomatic pressure will help eliminate Assad's chemical weapon program, Reuters reported.

If substantiated, the attacks would provide proof that Syria has retained a stockpile after an global deal, reached in 2013 after a chemical attack, to remove banned munitions from Syria.

But the officials said the USA believes Assad's government sees chemical attacks as an effective way to terrorize rebels and sympathetic populations into fleeing, therefore altering the demographic balance in the Alawite heartland where Assad is trying to consolidate control.

Assad's forces have instead "evolved" their chemical weapons and made continued occasional use of them in smaller amounts since a deadly attack last April that drew a USA missile strike on a Syrian air base, the officials told reporters in a briefing.

Barrel bombs used earlier in the war to disperse chemicals indiscriminately, for example, have been replaced by ground-launched munitions, officials said.

On Thursday, the State Department said the United States was working with its partners on the ground in Syrian to investigate the reports of recent chemical weapons use in East Ghouta, Syria.

"That use will spread to U.S. shores, if we can not stop it".

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