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Public reports ‘clearly present’ Assad’s use of chemical weapons: McMaster

MUNICH (Reuters) – U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster mentioned on Saturday that, regardless of denials, public reports confirmed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was utilizing chemical weapons, and added that it was time for the worldwide neighborhood to carry the Syrian authorities to account.

“Public accounts and photos clearly show that Assad’s chemical weapons use is continuing,” McMaster mentioned at a significant worldwide safety convention happening in Munich.

“It is time for all nations to hold the Syrian regime and its sponsors accountable for their actions and support the efforts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” he mentioned.

McMaster didn’t specify which public accounts or footage he was referring to.

Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis mentioned the Syrian authorities had repeatedly used chlorine gasoline, however harassed that the U.S. didn’t have proof of sarin gasoline use.

French President Emmanuel Macron has mentioned that “France will strike” if chemical weapons are used in opposition to civilians within the Syrian battle in violation of worldwide treaties, however that he had not but seen proof that is the case.

The Syrian authorities has repeatedly denied utilizing chemical weapons and mentioned it targets solely armed rebels and militants.

In latest weeks, rescue staff, assist teams and the United States have accused Syria of repeatedly utilizing chlorine gasoline as a weapon in opposition to civilians in Ghouta and Idlib.

Earlier this month, Syrian authorities forces, who’re backed by Russia and Iran, bombarded the areas, two of the final main rebel-held components of Syria.

Diplomatic efforts have made scant progress in direction of ending a conflict now approaching its eighth yr, which has killed lots of of hundreds of folks and compelled half the pre-war Syrian inhabitants of 23 million from their properties.


McMaster known as on the worldwide neighborhood to do extra on North Korea.

“We must pressure the Kim regime, using all available tools, to ensure that this cruel dictatorship cannot threaten the world with the most destructive weapons on earth,” he mentioned, referring to North Korean chief Kim Jong Un.

The United States has appeared to endorse nearer post-Olympics engagement between North and South Korea with an eye fixed to eventual U.S.-North Korean talks, however has agreed with Seoul that sanctions have to be intensified to push Pyongyang to barter an finish to its nuclear weapons program.

The prospect of negotiations comes after months of rigidity over North Korea’s nuclear and missile applications, through which U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean chief traded insults and threats, whereas the U.N. tightened sanctions.

“Nations that evade full enforcement and fail to take these steps are acting irresponsibly, now is the time to do more,” McMaster mentioned, calling on nations to chop off army and industrial ties with Pyongyang.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Thomas Escritt; Editing by Andrea Shalal and Andrew Bolton

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