U.S. condemns chemical attack in Syria as "heinous actions"

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-05 03:55:57|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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WASHINGTON, April 4 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government on Tuesday condemned a chemical attack in Syria as "heinous actions" by Syrian government, without providing proof.

Media reports said about 70 people were killed, 200 others were wounded Tuesday in the gas attack in a rebel-held area in the country's northwestern province of Idlib.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a briefing that President Donald Trump was briefed on the attack and the president was "extremely alarmed" by the "intolerable act."

Spicer described this attack as being "reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world." He blamed the attack on the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, but did not provide any proof.

Spicer said such "heinous actions" resulted from "weakness and irresolution" by the previous Obama administration in dealing with the Syrian crisis.

He noted that former President Barack Obama vowed to draw "a red line" on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, and then "did nothing."

But Spicer did not elaborate how the Trump administration will respond to the latest attack.

The Syrian army categorically denied launching such a toxic attack, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported on Tuesday.

The Syrian army said the accusations against it were completely baseless as it had not used, nor would use such weapons in the future. It held "terrorist groups" responsible for using chemical weapons.

Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said warplanes launched intensive airstrikes on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib, killing 58 people, mostly civilians.

The Syrian opposition accused the Syrian Air Force of being behind the attack.

The United Nations special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said the attack was believed to be chemical and was launched by air, noting there ought to be a "clear recognition of responsibility and accountability."