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US accuses Russia of lying on Syria attack to undermine truce

AFP  |  Washington 

The accused on Friday of helping fabricate a story about use by Syrian rebels as a pretext to undermine a shaky truce.

Russia's defense ministry said rebels fired grenades containing chlorine on November 24 on the regime-held city of Aleppo, with Syrian reporting that around 100 Syrians were hospitalized for breathing difficulties.

The said it had "credible information" that the account was false and that Russian and Syrian forces instead had fired tear gas.

"The is deeply concerned that pro-regime officials have maintained control of the in its immediate aftermath, allowing them to potentially fabricate samples and contaminate the site before a proper investigation of it by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons," State Department said in a statement.

"We caution and the regime against tampering with the suspected and urge them to secure the safety of impartial, independent inspectors so that those responsible can be held accountable," he said.

He said that and were "using it as an opportunity to undermine confidence in the ceasefire in Idlib," the last stronghold of rebels and jihadists fighting

Russia responded to the purported attack with air raids on Idlib, throwing into question a truce reached in mid-September.

The United States -- along with other Western governments, the and human rights groups -- have repeatedly pointed to by Assad's forces.

A in April 2017 in the town of killed 83 people, according to the UN, leading the United States to strike a Syrian air base with cruise missiles as punishment.

Russia, the top international backer of Assad, and the both denied the incident, saying footage of suffering victims including children was staged.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, December 08 2018. 01:10 IST