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Syria could also be making new varieties of chemical weapons
05 February 2018, 05:32 | Tara Lloyd
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday the Syrian government had repeatedly used chlorine as a weapon.
'We reserve the right to use military force to prevent or deter the use of chemical weapons, ' one official said, while declining to specify how serious a chemical attack would have to be to draw a fresh United States military response.
"We're looking for evidence of it since clearly we are dealing with the [Bashar al-] Assad regime that has used denial and deceit to hide their outlawed actions", Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.
Such allegations were timed to undermine the efforts to resolve the Syrian war through a peaceful settlement between the Syrians without foreign interventions, it noted.
Tillerson said 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.
Mattis made the remarks after senior United States officials said Trump was prepared to order more strikes amid reports that the Syrian government is developing new types of chemical weapons.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said, "Those who carry out chemical weapons attacks need to be made aware that we know who they are, and we will go after them".
"We are even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use, (but) I don't have the evidence,"Mattis said".
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, a powerful rebel alliance that publicly split from al-Qaeda previous year, said it had used a man-portable antiaircraft system to shoot down the Su-25 fighter jet. Unlike sarin, chlorine gas is relatively easy to produce and is not banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Characteristics of some of those recent attacks suggest that Syria may be developing new weapons and methods for delivering poison chemicals, possibly to make it harder to trace their origin, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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