Syrian activists say civilians hit by chlorine gas attack

Assad regime's airstrikes over Eastern Goutha

The Syrian government reaffirms its position against the use of chemical weapons, and Syria has handed over all its chemical arsenals to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the ministry said.

The U.S. has no evidence to confirm reports from aid groups and others that the Syrian government has used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday.

"We are even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use, (but) I don't have the evidence,"Mattis said".

Activists and rescue teams said the Syrian government launched an attack Monday with suspected poisonous gas that affected almost 20 civilians in a rebel-held suburb near Damascus.

The officials also say Syria may be making new kinds of weapons, either to improve their military capability or to escape worldwide accountability.

However, the Syrian Negotiations Commission (SNC), an opposition group, said chemical weapons had been used by the government of Bashar al-Assad in Ghouta.

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The U.S. has sought to step up pressure on the Syrian government in recent weeks over its use of chemical weapons.

Officials also pointed the finger at the Syrian government for a chlorine gas attack east of Damascus last week that sickened more than a dozen people.

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

"You all have seen how we reacted to that, so the Syrian government would be ill-advised to go back to violating the chemical convention", Mattis said.

In June a year ago, the fact finding team of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), published the results of its probe of the April 4 incident confirming that the nerve gas sarin was used in Khan Shaykhun incident.

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