State Department: Signs Syria has returned to chemical weapon attacks

Syria may have returned to the use of chemical weapons, the State Department said.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Syria may have resorted to chemical weapons in an attack against the last rebel stronghold in the country’s north on Sunday, the U.S. says.

“Unfortunately, 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,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Tuesday.

“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,” she said.

The attack was a violation of a ceasefire protecting millions of civilians in the greater Idlib area, Ortagus said.

“The regime’s attacks against the communities of northwest Syria must end,” the statement read. “The United States reiterates its warning, first issued by President Trump in September 2018, that an attack against the Idlib de-escalation zone would be a reckless escalation that threatens to destabilize the region.”

The State Department also accused Russia of engaging in a disinformation campaign, blaming rebels for ‘staging’ phony chemical attacks.

Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin, the head of the Russian military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria, said on Tuesday that captured rebels talked of a plan to fake chemical attacks and blame Syrian forces, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Russia’s military also said that rebels tied to al-Qaida launched an attack on Syrian government forces on Tuesday.