US Accuses Russia, Syria of Fabricating Story of Chemical Weapons Use

Evarado Alatorre
Diciembre 8, 2018

The United States has warned Russian Federation and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government against tampering with the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Aleppo, saying it has information that the parties manufactured last month's incident to discredit a ceasefire in Idlib.

The US state department said the objective was to "undermine confidence" in the ceasefire in Idlib province.

Russia's defense ministry had said on November 24 that Syrian rebels fired grenades containing chlorine near the government-held city of Aleppo.

State media showed images of residents being treated in hospital.

On Friday, the U.S. said it had "credible information" that the story was false and that Russian and Syrian forces had instead fired tear gas.

Palladino said that the United States is concerned that Syrian officials have maintained control of the site to "potentially fabricate samples and contaminate the site before a proper investigation of it by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons".

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"We caution Russian Federation and the regime against tampering with the suspected attack site and urge them to secure the safety of impartial, independent inspectors so that those responsible can be held accountable", the USA said.

Last month, more than 100 people were hurt in Aleppo in a suspected toxic gas attack that the Syrian government and Russian Federation blamed on rebels.

Parts of the Aleppo region, as well as the neighbouring provinces of Hama and Idlib, are controlled by Turkish-backed rebels and jihadists. It is highly unlikely that the opposition was responsible.

Up to 100 people were reportedly hospitalized on November 24 after a suspected chlorine attack struck Aleppo, Syria's most populous city.

Both Syrian government forces and opposition groups fighting in Syria have been accused of using chemical weapons in the seven-year war and both sides have blamed the other for allegedly carrying out false-flag operations.

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