April 9, 2018 / 9:57 AM / a year ago

Germany condemns Syria gas attack, says evidence points to Assad

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany on Monday condemned the suspected use of chemical weapons in a opposition-held town outside Damascus, saying the circumstances pointed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government being responsible for the attack.

The German government also urged Russia to “give up its blockade mentality at the U.N. Security Council” and facilitate an investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The Syrian government denied using any such weapons.

“Those responsible for the use of poison gas ... must be held to account,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference.

“With this use of poison gas, the circumstances point to the Assad regime’s responsibility,” he added. “The regime’s actions are abhorrent.”

Germany also criticised Russia, which entered the war on Assad’s side in 2015 and has blocked a number of motions related to Syria in the U.N. Security Council.

“Russia must give up its blockade mentality in the U.N. Security Council with regard to an investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” Seibert said. “It must contribute constructively to a clarification.”

“The Syrian regime would, without Russian and also Iranian support, not be able to keep up its approach of a ruthless, purely military solution to the conflict,” Seibert added.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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