The U S and Britain accused Russia on Friday 8th March of fabricating a story about chemical weapons use by Syrian rebels, and warned Moscow against undermining a shaky truce.
Russia's defence ministry said rebels fired weapons containing chlorine on November 24th on the regime-held city of Aleppo, with Syrian state media reporting that around 100 Syrians were hospitalized with breathing difficulties, according to AFP.
Russia responded to the purported attack with air raids on Idlib, the latest major stronghold of rebels and jihadists battling President Bashar al-Assad, throwing into question a truce reached in mid-September.
The U S said it had credible information that the chlorine account was false, and that Russian and Syrian forces instead had fired tear gas.
"The U S is deeply concerned that pro-regime officials have maintained control of the attack site in its immediate aftermath, allowing them to potentially fabricate samples and contaminate the site before a proper investigation of it by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons," State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.