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

Syria is making new chemical weapons despite 2013 deal: US

The Syrian foreign ministry denied on Saturday US allegations it had used chemical weapons against rebel-held Eastern Ghouta enclave near Damascus, saying the accusations were "lies" without evidence.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said, "Those who carry out chemical weapons attacks need to be made aware that we know who they are, and we will go after them".

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis recently threatened Syria with a military action if hard evidence is found to back up the claims of another sarin attack in Syria. However, they declined to provide specific details about the alleged Damascus moves for developing or maintaining chemical weapons.

Mattis says it is clear that the government of President Bashar Assad has weaponized and used chlorine gas in the Syrian civil war.

The attack comes a day after Syria's former al-Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian warplane as it flew low over Saraqeb in northern Syria, apparently using a surface-to-air missile.

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.

However, another official said that the Trump administration hopes that stepped-up global sanctions and diplomatic pressure against Damascus will help rein in Syria's chemical weapons program.

The April 2017 attack on Khan Sheikhun left scores dead and prompted the United States to fire 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air field. It was followed by missile strikes by U.S. military on a Syrian air base. 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. He stressed that the USA did not have evidence of sarin gas use.

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