WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday accused the Russian government of engaging in a cover-up of the chemical weapons attack last week by Syrian forces that prompted U.S. airstrikes, saying that U.S. intelligence and numerous contemporaneous reports confirmed that the Syrians used sarin gas on their own people.
In a declassified four-page report that details U.S. intelligence on the chemical weapons attack, the White House asserted that the Syrian and Russian governments have sought to confuse the world community about the assault through disinformation and “false narratives.”
Senior White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the government’s view, said Russia’s goal was to cover up Syrian regime culpability.
The officials said they could not comment on the possibility that the Russian government knew in advance of Syria’s plan to carry out the chemical weapons attack, or of a subsequent attack on a hospital that was treating victims.
But one official said that, given the history of close cooperation between the Syrian and Russian militaries, Moscow must answer for the attacks. Pentagon officials have said that Russian personnel were at the Syrian base used to launch the chemical weapons attack.