Russia is partly to blame for a suspected chemical weapons attack in a rebel enclave in Syria, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said.
“Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in eastern Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons since Russia became involved in Syria,” Mr Tillerson said after a conference on chemical weapons in Paris.
More than 20 civilians – most of whom were children – were hit by the attack, the Secretary of State said. He added that the incident raised “serious concerns” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was continuing to use chemical weapons against his own people.
Russia has long supported Mr Assad, even after a similar, suspected chemical weapons attack last year. Mr Tillerson said Russia had violated an agreement it made with the US to remove of chemical weapons from Syria and was helping them break the international treaty barring their use.
The Assad regime has denied using chlorine or other chemical weapons during Syria’s seven-year civil war.