US State Department: Russia, Syria try to 'clear out' chemical attack site

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"We have forces in the field, as you know, in Syria, and the use of chemical weapons in Syria is not something that we should assume that, well, because he didn't use them on us this time, he wouldn't use them on us next time..."

Asked about the danger of a Russia-U.S. military clash, Lavrov voiced hope that military leaders realize that "any actions that could provoke a direct clash between the Russian and the U.S. militaries are unacceptable". "Russian officials have worked with the Syrian regime, we believe, to sanitize the locations of the suspected attacks and remove incriminating evidence of chemical weapons use", Nauert said.

"It is very important to remember that Syria signed the chemical weapons convention.and promised to give up all its chemical weapons and Russian Federation was a guarantor of that framework", he said.

The response came after the United States media cited military and administration sources as saying that Mattis had urged Trump to seek Congressional approval before punishing Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons, Xinhua reported. Syria denies responsibility and Russian Federation has strongly criticized the bombing.

On April 19, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said United Nations security experts had come under fire in the town when they arrived in an attempt to assess the situation.

Jarablus is shared between Turkish and Syrian opposition control.

On April 10, a decision was made to send OPCW experts to Douma to assess the situation on the ground and collect information about the alleged chemical incident.

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Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the evidence was at risk of being tampered with as the delays dragged on. Furthermore, the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog agency is also preparing to inspect Syria.

Journalists visiting Douma on a government-organized tour Monday did not report any security threats.

In 2013, the group helped identify and destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles - at least the ones the Syrian government admitted to having. The statement appeared to be aimed at bolstering contentions that Syrian rebels have used chemical weapons.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office says Iraqi fighter jets launched "lethal" airstrikes against the extremists in an area along the border.

"Indonesia underlines the need for all parties to respect worldwide laws, and norms, in particular the (United Nations) charter on global peace and security", the minister said in an official press statement over the weekend, continuing a line of persistent objections over the unauthorised use of force.

The Russian military said a Syrian security employee was slightly wounded in the crossfire Tuesday, but no Russian servicemen were at the site of the attack. The report says 1,500 rebels and 3,500 of their next of kin are to leave Dumayr for the town of Jarablus, near the Turkish border.

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