Syrian government may still be using chemical weapons against people: Rex Tillerson

Vastavam web: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday the Syrian government may still be using chemical weapons against its own people following a suspected chlorine attack in a rebel enclave, and he said Russia bore ultimate responsibility.Rescue workers in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, near to Damascus, accused government forces of using chlorine gas during bombardment of the area on Monday. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 13 people had suffered suffocation in the incident.

“Only yesterday more than 20 civilians, mostly children, were victims of an apparent chlorine gas attack,” Tillerson said after attending a conference on chemical weapons in Paris.“The recent attacks in Eastern Ghouta raise serious concerns that Bashar al-Assad may be continuing to use chemical weapons against his own people.”Russia is a close ally of Assad, providing direct military support in Syria against the various rebel groups trying to oust him and also diplomatic cover in the U.N. Security Council.

Tillerson was speaking during a meeting hosted by France on an initiative to target those responsible for chemical attacks, largely in Syria, after an international investigation into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria ended in November after Russian opposition.Russia is a close ally of Assad, providing direct military support in Syria against the various rebel groups trying to oust him and also diplomatic cover in the U.N. Security Council.

Tillerson was speaking during a meeting hosted by France on an initiative to target those responsible for chemical attacks, largely in Syria, after an international investigation into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria ended in November after Russian opposition.As a first step, France on Tuesday imposed unilateral sanctions on 25 people and entities, including from China, Lebanon and France, and among them importers and distributors of metals, electronics and lighting systems. It said the companies were helping to supply Syria’s chemical weapons programme.