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  • A woman leaves the U.S. State Department building in Washington June 5, 2009.

    A woman leaves the U.S. State Department building in Washington June 5, 2009. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 May 2019

“We are still gathering information on [Sunday’s] incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.”

The U.S. State Department accused the Syrian government of carrying out a new chemical weapons attack in the northwestern region of the country on Sunday. 

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State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Tuesday: “We are still gathering information on [Sunday’s] incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.”

Ortagus claimed that the ongoing Syrian government offensive in the northwestern part of the country was aimed at harming the people of this region. “The regime’s attacks against the communities of north-west Syria must end."

The State Department Spokeswoman reiterated U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to attack the Syrian government if they use chemical weapons. “The United States reiterates its warning, first issued by President Trump in September 2018, that an attack against the Idlib de-escalation zone would be a reckless escalation that threatens to destabilize the region.”

Ortagus then shifted her attention to Russia's accusations that rebel groups in Idlib were planning to stage a new chemical weapons attack. She accused the Russian government of "continuing disinformation campaign ... to create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks”.

“The facts, however, are clear,” the statement said. “The Assad regime itself has conducted almost all verified chemical weapons attacks that have taken place in Syria – a conclusion the United Nations has reached over and over again.”

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