U.S. Accuses Syria of New Chemical Weapons Attack

Top U.S. officials accused the Syrian government on Tuesday of using chemical weapons on civilians in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, where more than twenty people, including children, were reported injured.

The attacks, carried out Monday using rockets loaded with chlorine gas, brought the total since the start of 2018 to four (WaPo), according to medical workers in the country. U.S. officials also blamed Russia for failing to stop the Syrian regime (Guardian) from carrying out such attacks. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley rebuked Moscow for refusing last year to renew the mandate (NYT) of a UN panel investigating chemical weapons use in Syria. The Syrian government agreed to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile following a 2013 sarin gas attack in Eastern Ghouta that is believed to have killed more than a thousand people.


“The one thing the regime never wants is a confrontation with the United States. All the other things are worth risking and up for grabs, but that they avoid,” Faysal Itani said in an interview with Syria Deeply.

“The war offered the regime a means of navigating a transition from a prewar order to a new one. By annihilating the environment in which its opponents could operate, the war left the regime with no counterpart with whom it needed to negotiate,” Kheder Khaddour writes for the Carnegie Middle East Center.

“In 2015 and 2016, the Russians still entertained the thought of jointly developing and implementing a diplomatic solution with the Americans. But today, thanks to waning interest in and a lack of engagement from Washington, Moscow has teamed up with the Turks and the Iranians instead,” Dmitri Trenin writes for Foreign Affairs.