April 18, 2018 / 6:01 PM / a month ago

U.S. blames Syria for delay in inspectors reaching suspected chemical sites

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday that the Syrian government was responsible for delays in inspectors reaching sites of a suspected chemical weapons attack, a strategy they had used in the past.

“We are very much aware of the delay that the regime imposed on that delegation but we are also very much aware of how they have operated in the past and seal what they have done using chemical weapons,” Mattis said before the start of a meeting with his counterpart from Qatar.

“In other words, using the pause after a strike like that to try to clean up the evidence before the investigation team gets in. So it’s unfortunate they were delayed,” Mattis added.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by James Dalgleish

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