Pompeo: Syria used a chemical weapon

Secretary of State says US concluded that the Assad regime used chlorine as a chemical weapon in an attack in May.

Elad Benari,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo
Reuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that the United States had concluded the government of President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria used chlorine as a chemical weapon in an attack in May during a battle with insurgents in Idlib.

“The Assad regime is responsible for innumerable atrocities some of which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Pompeo told a news conference in New York, according to Reuters.

“Today I am announcing that the United States has concluded that the Assad regime used chlorine as a chemical weapon on May 19,” Pompeo added.

The State Department said in May it sees signs that the Syrian government may be using chemical weapons, but made no definitive conclusion on that.

The Syrian regime repeatedly denies having any connection to chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

In March, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) determined that chlorine was used in a deadly attack on the Syrian town of Douma in 2018, though it did not say who was responsible for the attack.

Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under a deal brokered by Moscow and Washington, but the OPCW has since found chlorine has been "systematically and repeatedly" used as a weapon.

Such chemical attacks in 2017 and earlier this year led the US to launch punitive strikes against Syrian forces.

“This is different in some sense because it was chlorine... but know that President Trump has been pretty vigorous in protecting the world from the use of chemical weapons,” Pompeo said on Thursday, declining to detail what the US response could be.




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