US warns Russia over Syrian site of alleged chemical attack
The Pentagon warned Russia on Tuesday (November 27th) against interfering with the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's regime-held city of Aleppo, AFP reported.
The Syrian regime has accused armed groups of carrying out a "toxic gas" attack Saturday that left dozens of people struggling to breathe and prompted Russia to launch retaliatory airstrikes against "terrorist groups".
Damascus has formally asked for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the alleged attack.
The Pentagon said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may try to interfere with the site of the incident and build a narrative to justify attacking opposition-held Idlib, which is currently protected under a truce deal in northern Syria.
"It is essential to ensure that the Syrian regime does not seize on false pretexts to undermine this ceasefire and launch an offensive in Idlib," Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said in a statement.
"We caution Russia against tampering with another suspected chemical weapons attack site and urge Russia to secure the safety of the OPCW inspectors so these allegations can be investigated in a fair and transparent manner," he said.
Both the Syrian regime and Russia have blamed "terrorist groups" -- a term Damascus uses to mean both mainstream opposition groups and extremists -- for Saturday's attack.
"We urge immediate inspection of the alleged site by international investigators, with freedom to interview all involved and unhindered ability to collect evidence," Robertson said.