Washington (AFP) – The Syrian regime may have had help conducting a chemical strike in Syria, US officials said Friday, but they stopped short of accusing Moscow of complicity.
“We know the Russians have chemical expertise in country. We cannot talk about openly any complicity between the Russians and the Syrian regime in this case, but we are carefully assessing any information that would implicate the Russians knew or assisted with this capability.”
The Pentagon says the base was used by the plane that launched the attack, and that it was known historically to have been a chemical weapons facility.
A second senior military official described how Russian personnel were closely enmeshed in the day-to-day operations at Shayrat, although he could not say if the Russians knew for sure that the Syrian jet that unleashed the attack was carrying a chemical payload.
“We don’t know who struck that,” the first official said. “But the fact that somebody would strike the hospital, potentially to hide the evidence of a chemical attack… is a question that we are very interested in.”