US envoy to Syria: Assad’s regime used chemical weapons in attacks in Syria

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Bashar al-Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons in attacks in Syria, the US special envoy for Syria confirmed to Al Arabiya on Friday, adding that the response could take various forms including military or diplomatic measures, or economic sanctions.

Ambassador James Jeffrey said that the US welcomes the UN announcement on the formation of a constitutional committee for Syria, a long-awaited step in a stalled peace process.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said on Thursday that al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in attacks on the country in May.

A consitutional committee

Speaking on the formation of a Syrian consitutional committee Jeffrey said, “We have to put pressure on the other side – Russia and the regime – to take the constitutional committee seriously,” adding that the next step would be to hold elections in the country as called for by the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2254.

He said, “I am confident that the UN can organize a free election in Syria as it did in 2003.”

When discussing US involvement in Syria, the envoy said that the difference between American forces and Russian and Iranian forces is that while US presence is meant to aid the fight against terrorism, the Syrian regime’s allies are doing the opposite.

However, Jeffrey added that Russia’s support for the constitutional committee could lead to a political solution.

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