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Mattis says United States has no evidence of Syrian use of sarin gas

Mattis says United States has no evidence of Syrian use of sarin gas

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. He stressed that the U.S. did not have evidence of sarin gas use. "The regime appears to have weaponized chlorine again", Mattis, "but we are even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use".

"We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it's been used", Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

Mattis did not provide further details on which reports on the use of sarin he was referring to.

The US accusations of chemical weapons use in Eastern Ghouta are groundless, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said adding that Damascus strongly condemned such statements.

Syrian activists said on Sunday that civilians have suffered chlorine gas poisoning during an attack on the rebel-held town of Saraqeb in Idlib province, The Associated Press reported.

In his remarks Friday, Mattis alluded to the April attack, saying, "So they'd be ill-advised to go back to violating" the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.

Syria has staunchly denied the claims, pointing to its 2013 handover of its chemical stores as part of a deal between the United States and Russian Federation.

In 2013, Syria said it would give up all of its chemical weapons. Unlike sarin, chlorine gas is relatively easy to produce and is not banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has responded to the United States' claims of chemical weapons use by the government forces in the clashes with militants in Eatern Ghouta. The Syrian American Medical Society says its hospitals in the area treated 11 patients for chlorine gas poisoning. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.

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