US has proof Syrian regime behind gas attack: Nauert
The U.S. has “a very high level of confidence” that the Syrian regime conducted a deadly chemical weapons attack last weekend on Douma district, the State Department said Friday, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
"Syria is responsible. We are all in agreement," spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters at a press briefing, referring to various sources and reports from government agencies, including those of Britain and France.
However, Nauert said Washington is still working to identify the mix of chemicals used and a team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will also launch an investigation and collect evidence in Douma.
"We believe we know who was responsible for this. We will still wait -- the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will still formulate its facts and its findings, but it does not determine the responsibility; they determine the substance," Nauert added.
Denying Moscow’s claim that the alleged gas attack was staged by the UK, she called the accusation "one of a long list of instances in which Russia takes information and they try to turn it upside down".
"We have seen a long history of the Russian government sow discord, whether it is in our own election process or other countries," she said.
"They try to change the story, but the facts are exactly what they are. Russia has changed its story once again because the facts have become too inconvenient for them."
Forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime struck targets in Eastern Ghouta's Douma district Saturday using a toxic gas which left at least 78 civilians dead, according to Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets.
The Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta has been under siege for the last five years. Humanitarian access to the area, which is home to 400,000 people, has been completely cut off.
Over the past eight months, Assad regime forces have intensified their siege, making it nearly impossible for food or medicine to get into the district and leaving thousands of civilians in need.
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