Officials see 'evolution' in Syrian chemical weapons

Larry Hoffman
February 2, 2018

Assad is believed to have secretly kept part of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile despite a US-Russian deal under which Damascus was supposed to have handed over all such weapons for destruction in 2014, the US officials said.

The official warned that Syria's chemical weapons could soon spread to other parts of the world, possible even the United States, unless the worldwide community steps up its pressure on Syria's leader Bashar al-Assad.

North Korea has been trying to help Syria's Assad build his chemical weapons programme IBTimes US.

WASHINGTON-The Trump administration warned Syria about an increase in the use of poison gas against civilians, despite last year's cruise-missile strike aimed at deterring the Assad regime from carrying out such attacks. Elliot Higgins, a British-based weapons analyst, said the serial numbers indicated they were from the same batch as those used in a January attack in the area.

"All of the countries condemned [chemical] gas use", Laith said, "but the regime continues to bomb us".

"We are even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use, and we are looking for the evidence", he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that Paris could launch unilateral air strikes against targets in Syria if a new chemical attack took place, although he has since said he would coordinate any action with Trump. In April of 2017, Trump ordered an attack on a Syrian airbase after a chemical attack blamed on the Syrian regime in Khan Sheikhun.

"These attacks constitute clear violations of global humanitarian law and the Convention on Chemical Weapons", the report says.

Reports of chemical attacks have continued to stream in from Syria, noted AP, including as recently as Thursday, when rescue workers in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma reported what they described as a suspected chlorine gas attack that injured a number of civilians.

Tillerson's speech came less than a week after Turkey, Russia and Iran aggressively condemned a reported plan for the create a new force of Kurdish militants to patrol the Syria-Turkey border - a plan the Pentagon has denied.

Douma is in the Eastern Ghouta, a suburb east of Damascus where nearly 400,000 people have been under siege by the Syrian government and allied militia since 2013.

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