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    Smoke rises from the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on March 26, 2015 following bombing by rebels. Islamist fighters have seized 17 checkpoints from Syrian forces in clashes around the city of Idlib that have cost at least 71 lives, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

    Reports of Alleged Chemical Attack in Syria's Idlib Unconfirmed - US State Dept

    © AFP 2019 / Karam Al-Masri
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has not reached any definitive conclusions on whether chemical weapons were used in recent attacks in Syria's Idlib province and is continuing to investigate the matter, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told reporters on Thursday.

    "We do have numerous sources including interviews with those present during the attack that did report that a number of opposition fighters were taken to local hospitals and presented symptoms that were consistent with chemical exposure", Ortagus said. "We know, of course, that this is a pattern of behavior unfortunately by the Assad regime, but we don't have any definitive conclusions yet as we continue to investigate".

    READ MORE: Terror Chemical Attack Plotted in Syria's Idlib, Aleppo — Russian MoD

    On Tuesday, the US State Department said that Washington was gathering information regarding what it suspects was a chlorine attack in northwest Syria on 19 May. It added that the United States saw signs that the Syrian government might be using chemical weapons.

    On Wednesday, US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey acknowledged during congressional testimony that the United States cannot confirm recent reports that chemical weapons were used in Idlib.

    On Friday, the Russian Defence Ministry said militants of the Nusra Front terror group were preparing to stage a false-flag provocation in Syria's Idlib province to frame the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian army for allegedly attacking civilians with chemical weapons.

    The head of the Russian centre for Syrian reconciliation, Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin, said Tuesday that terrorists operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone possess significant amounts of poisonous substances which are used to fill munitions for use in staged provocations aimed at accusing the Syrian army of "chemical attacks" against civilians.

    READ MORE: Russian Air Defences Destroy Rockets Fired at Syria Base From Idlib — MoD

    *al-Nusra Front (the Nusra Front, Jabhat al-Nusra) — terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries.

    Related:

    US Cannot Confirm Reports of Use of Chemical Weapons in Idlib - Envoy for Syria
    Russian Air Defences Destroy Rockets Fired at Syria Base From Idlib - MoD
    Terror Chemical Attack Plotted in Syria's Idlib, Aleppo - Russian MoD
    Syrian Army Announces Unilateral Ceasefire in Idlib Despite Militants' Shelling
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    chemical attack, investigation, U.S. Department of State, Idlib, Syria
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