By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. is "confident" the Syrian regime carried out a suspected chemical attack in the outskirts of Damascus last weekend, the White House said Friday.
“We’re confident that Syria had responsibility in this chemical weapons attack, but we also hold Russia responsible for their failure to stop chemical weapons attacks from taking place,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
Diplomatic tensions have run high following an attack on the Syrian city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta last Saturday night.
The White Helmets, a civil defense agency, blamed the Bashar al-Assad regime for the alleged chemical attack, which it said killed 78 civilians and injured hundreds of others.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has dispatched a fact finding team to Syria that is expected to begin work Saturday. The OPCW mission will be focused on determining whether a chemical attack took place, but will not work to determine culpability.
Sanders insisted the U.S. has "a very high confidence that Syria was responsible".
"Once again Russia’s failure to stop them and their continued dis-action on this front has been part of the problem,” she said.
Sanders dismissed Russian allegations that Britain staged the Douma attack, saying: "Our intelligence tells us otherwise.”