Syrian civilians injured in chlorine gas attack

US warns Syria on chemical weapons amid deepening dispute with Russia

Mattis says it is clear that the government of President Bashar Assad has weaponized and used chlorine gas in the Syrian civil war. We do not have evidence of it.

Mattis also said on Friday that the US government was concerned about the Syrian government's use of sarin gas, but acknowledged that he did not have evidence to prove that it was using the nerve agent.

"We're even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use", he said.

Mattis did not provide further details on which reports on the use of sarin he was referring to. A day earlier, Washington said it was prepared to consider military action if necessary to deter chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government.

France said on Friday it was "deeply concerned" that Syria's government was flouting its pledges to stop using chemical weapons and Paris was working with its partners to shed light on recent suspected toxic gas attacks.

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"Russia's failure to resolve the chemical weapons issue in Syria calls into question its relevance to the resolution of the overall crisis".

The US officials further said that Syrian authorities appeared to have embraced ground-based means for launching chemical strikes rather than the air attacks because the ground-based operations are hard to detect.

Tillerson said Russian Federation is violating a 2013 agreement it made with the US on the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and is helping the Syrian government breach the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans their use.

They emphasized that the United States was seeking a new way to hold chemical weapons-users accountable and wanted cooperation from Russia, Assad's patron, in pressuring him to end the attacks.

On Thursday, the Trump administration accused Assad of producing and using "new kinds of weapons" to deliver deadly chemicals.

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