US 'sees signs' Damascus 'may' have used chlorine in Idlib, threatens ‘quick & appropriate’ response
The US State Department has accused the Syrian government of a recent chemical attack and threatened it with a 'quick and appropriate' response – while admitting it has little information to substantiate the allegations.
In a statement on Tuesday, Washington alleged that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad is likely to be found responsible for allegedly using chlorine to attack civilians in militant-controlled areas of Idlib province.
"We continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of May 19, 2019," the statement says.
Despite the evident uncertainty, the State Department adopted the habitually threatening stance against Damascus.
“We are still gathering information on this incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.”Also on rt.com ‘Where are the headlines?’ Roger Waters points to Syria gas attack ‘stench’ in wake of leaked report
The State Department also lashed out at Moscow for its efforts to expose the White Helmets, the self-proclaimed civil defense group that operates exclusively in militant-controlled areas and has been accused of associating with extremists and staging chemical attacks. Having invested heavily in the White Helmets along with other Western nations, Washington accused Moscow and Damascus of trying to "create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime itself is conducting."
Meanwhile, according to the State Department, "the Assad regime's culpability in horrific chemical weapons attacks is undeniable."
It just so happens that these latest claims come after a newly-surfaced report by an engineer from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that calls into question the March OPCW report accusing Damascus of being behind the Douma chemical incident last April.
The new report, which suggested that gas canisters were placed at the scene of the attack by hand, potentially by 'rebel' militants active in the area, went virtually unnoticed in the West. Several celebrity activists have called out the mainstream media over their lack of coverage.Also on rt.com Leaked OPCW memo casts doubt on watchdog’s Douma ‘chemical attack’ conclusions
The State Department's claims of a 'new' chlorine incident, uncorroborated so far, follow a fresh warning by the Russian military of a terrorist plans to stage a false-flag chemical attack in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria reported on Tuesday that the terrorist group Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham – formerly known the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate – had set up a special “chemical unit” and had enough chemicals at its disposal to carry out an attack it would frame on the Syrian government. The center said that the “chemical unit” is headquartered in Idlib and consists of three sub-divisions that would plan, execute and publicize the "attack."