Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

EU fines Google €2.4bn over shopping service

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Latest hack sends jitters through cyberspace

Read more

THE DEBATE

Farewell to arms? Crucial Step for Colombia peace process (full debate)

Read more

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

Could France's Macron be Europe's climate hero?

Read more

FOCUS

Russia cracks down on hooligans ahead of 2018 World Cup

Read more

ENCORE!

Award-winning author Lionel Shriver: Trump 'stole my idea'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo authorities find ten more mass graves in Kasai

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Poll suggests Trump presidency takes toll on US image abroad

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France's new parliament: 'Debutante ball' at the Bourbon Palace

Read more

US says chemical weapons attack in Syria was 'war crime'

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 

The Syrian government's suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians last week amounts to a "war crime," the US State Department said Thursday.

It also ridiculed comments by President Bashar al-Assad in an interview with AFP to the effect that the alleged attack was fabricated by the United States to justify an American military strike.

"Sadly, it's vintage Assad. It is an attempt by him to throw up false flags, create confusion," said department spokesman Mark Toner, alluding to what Assad said in the interview Wednesday. It was Assad's first since the alleged April 4 chemical weapons attack prompted a US cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base.

The suspected chemical attack killed at least 87 people, including many children, and images of the dead and of suffering victims provoked global outrage.

"Frankly, it's a tactic we've seen on Russia's part as well in the past," Toner told a daily press briefing.

Echoing charges by Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Toner said there can be little doubt that the chemical weapons attack in Idlib province was carried out by Syrian government forces.

"It wasn't only a violation of the laws of war but it was a -- we believe, a war crime," Toner said.

Tillerson, visiting Moscow on Wednesday, addressed the issue of the chemical weapons attack but he stopped short of calling it a war crime.

Tillerson did raise the prospect of criminal proceedings at some point over the attack, including against Assad himself, but warned there were be major legal obstacles to this.

© 2017 AFP