Chlorine gas attack suspected in East Ghouta for third time this year

Rebel Syrian area hit by third 'chemical attack' as Assad regime increases pressure on opposition

TRUMP administration officials claim the Syrian Government may be creating new kinds of chemical weapons, despite a 2013 agreement to destroy such a program.

The officials echoed Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State's recent accusations against Russian Federation of being responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria - a charge that draw a furious response from Moscow.

The Syrian government has repeatedly used chemical weapons in attacks on opposition-held areas, according to the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, whose latest report, released last September, notes the use of weaponized chlorine in East Ghouta.

Mr Assad's forces have instead "evolved" their chemical weapons and made continued occasional use of them in smaller amounts since the attacks a year ago, the officials told reporters in a briefing.

Tillerson said at a conference last week in Paris that Moscow "ultimately bears responsibility for the victims" of chemical weapons attacks in Syria since it became militarily involved in 2015. "It will spread if we don't do something", the official warned.

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A deadly sarin attack on a rebel-held area in April prompted Mr Trump to order a missile strike previous year on the Shayrat airbase, from which the Syrian operation is said to have been launched.

Abu Muhammad Laith, a resident of the al-Malaab neighborhood that was hit on Thursday, said the suspected chemical strikes reflected the global community's inability to prevent attacks on Syrian civilians. The heavily populated civilian town of Douma was hit in a suspected chlorine gas attack leaving over 21 casualties suffering from burns and breathing difficulties, including children. In April of 2017, Trump ordered an attack on a Syrian airbase after a chemical attack blamed on the Syrian regime in Khan Sheikhun.

Mattis said the Syrian government has weaponized and used chlorine gas in the Syrian civil war, and that the U.S.is "even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use".

These charges surface just as when the Syrian regime is thought to be behind a suspected chlorine attack on Eastern Ghouta, one of the last strongholds held by anti-Assad rebels, recently.

Douma is in the Eastern Ghouta, a suburb east of Damascus where nearly 400,000 people have been under siege by the Syrian government and allied militia since 2013.

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