White House: Russia Lying About Syrian Chemical Attack

Officials say Russia is spreading 'false narratives' to protect Syrian government
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2017 6:08 PM CDT
White House: Russia Lying About Syrian Chemical Attack
In this 2015 photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hand with Syrian President Bashar Assad.   (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

Russia is running a "disinformation campaign" to confuse responsibility for last week's chemical attack in Syria and protect the Syrian government, according to White House officials. In a declassified report released Tuesday, the US government concludes Syrian forces used sarin gas during the attack, the New York Times reports. According to the Wall Street Journal, Syria has denied using chemical weapons, and Russia says the Syrian airstrike hit chemical weapons used by rebels. Russia has also claimed the attack was a "prank" and no chemical weapons were involved. The report accuses Russia and Syria of spreading "false narratives." “It’s clear that the Russians are trying to cover up the attack,” a senior White House official says.

While US intelligence hasn't found proof Russia knew about the chemical attack before it happened, officials say it would be strange if it didn't. Officials say Russian military personnel were located at the same base where the Syrian military planned and executed the attack, CNN reports. The two countries have been closely cooperating militarily. Vladimir Putin has called such accusations "very tedious." Despite the use of chemical weapons, the US' airstrike in retaliation, and Secretary of State Tillerson's comments about the looming end of the Assad regime, President Trump said Tuesday the US won't be "going into Syria." (More Russia stories.)

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