The Syrian Foreign Ministry has responded to the United States’ claims of chemical weapons use by the government forces in the clashes with militants in Eatern Ghouta.
The US accusations of chemical weapons use in Eastern Ghouta are groundless, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said adding that Damascus strongly condemned such statements.
“The Foreign Ministry decisively condemns US groundless allegations against the Syrian leadership of chemical weapons use in Eastern Ghouta [in eastern suburbs of Damascus],” the statement read, as quoted by the Syrian state-run SANA news agency.
On January 26, the Syrian opposition White Helmets rescue group operating in militant-held Syrian areas reported that three civilians were killed and many others injured in a suspected chlorine gas attack on Eastern Ghouta. On the same day, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert accused the Syrian authorities of staging the attack. Damascus denied the allegations.
However, on February 2, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis says investigators are looking into reports that the Syrian government used sarin gas in recent chemical attacks, but there is no evidence of the gas usage so far.
“We do not have evidence,” Mattis told reporters, as quoted by Politico on Friday, adding that it appears chlorine was used in the attacks, but “we are even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use.”
Some media reports starting to circulate earlier this week suggested that the Trump administration believes Damascus is developing new chemical weapons.
The Pentagon’s statement comes amid the disputes around the report presented by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and by the OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM). The analysis calls Syrian President Bashar Assad is responsible for the use of sarin in the Khan Sheikhoun incident, while the Daesh terrorist organization is responsible for the use of sulfur mustard in Umm Hawsh.