Syrian civilians injured in chlorine gas attack

Mattis Warns Syria To not Use Chemical Weapons

The ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the U.S. remarks about the use of chemical weapons in the Eastern Ghouta region of the east of the capital Damascus are "false claims", Xinhua news agency reported. "We do not have evidence of it".

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, a powerful rebel alliance that publicly split from al-Qaeda past year, said it had used a man-portable antiaircraft system to shoot down the Su-25 fighter jet.

"We're looking for evidence of it, since clearly we are dealing with the Assad regime that has used denial and deceit to hide their outlaw actions", Mattis said.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has responded to the United States' claims of chemical weapons use by the government forces in the clashes with militants in Eatern Ghouta.

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.

"We are even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use". The colorless toxin can cause respiratory failure, leading to death.

Washington said this week that it could consider military action against the Syrian government if it continued to use chemical weapons.

The officials reiterated US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent accusation that Russia, Assad's ally in Syria's multisided civil war, bears some responsibility for failing to enforce the chemical weapons ban.

Assad's government is believed to have kept part of its chemical weapons stockpile despite a US-Russian deal under which Damascus was supposed to have handed over all those weapons for destruction in 2014, the officials said.

The French government announced Tuesday that it is freezing the assets of companies that help furnish material to the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, a Syrian lab accused of producing chemical weapons.

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