This Sunday, April. 8, 2018 file image released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a rescue worker carrying a child following an alleged chemical weapons attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP, File)

Canadian minister says Syrian government to blame for chemical-weapons attack

Syrian government to blame for chemical-weapons attack, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says

Canada has become the latest to lay the blame for a deadly chemical-weapons attack in Syria last week at Syrian President Bashar Assad’s doorstep, despite Russian suggestions to the contrary.

“When it comes to this use of chemical weapons, it is clear to Canada that chemical weapons were used and that they were used by the Assad regime,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday.

Related: Explosions rock Syrian capital as Trump announces strikes

More than 40 people were killed and 500 injured — including women and children — after poison gas was used in an attack on Douma, a rebel-held enclave near the Syrian capital of Damascus, on April 7.

The Syrian government has denied responsibility and Russia has suggested Israel or Britain was to blame, the latter to justify increased western intervention into the war-ravaged country.

Freeland made the comments on the sidelines of a major international summit in Lima, Peru, which U.S. President Donald Trump skipped last minute to deal with the recent chemical-weapons attack in Syria, which culminated in the launch of U.S., British and French strikes against Syrian targets on Friday night.

Freeland, who spoke before the strikes were announced, said Canada is working with non-governmental organizations and others to collect evidence of war crimes and other atrocities in Syria.

“We have seen as a pattern in the world today is actors who behave in a reprehensible manner, then can be quite clever in trying to muddy the waters and in trying to dodge responsibility,” she added.

“Of course, it is important for Canada to be a country that acts based on facts. But it is equally important for us to be aware of the distraction tactics that some of the actors in the world are using today and to not allow those tactics to work.”

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence is attending the Summit of the Americas in Trump’s stead, and is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday.

“I think it is completely understandable that the president would feel that, given this crisis situation, he would need to be at home,” Freeland said, adding that the Canadian delegation is looking forward to its meeting with Pence.

While Trump announced the “precision strikes” in Syria, Trudeau has ruled out any Canadian participation.

Related: The Latest: U.S. and allies attacking Syria

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vernon woman collecting socks for Kelowna’s less fortunate

Jennylee Cowie hopes to collect 100 pairs of socks to give to the Gospel Mission in Kelowna

Okanagan College elects new president, vice-president

Gloria Morgan was elected the president of Okanagan College’s board of governors

Kelowna house fire considered ‘potentially supicious’

A house on Morrison Avenue caught fire around 12:30 p.m. last night

Okanagan school districts receive thousands for trades programs

The money is part of $1.37 million given to fifty-one school districts for trades programs

Book drive kicks off at Okanagan College

Donated books will help provide education material for children in Uganda

VIDEO: Ron MacLean says he doesn’t believe former co-host Don Cherry is racist

Sportsnet fired Cherry on Nov. 11, two days after controversial on-air comments during ‘Coach’s Corner’

Power outage leaves 1,500 North Okanagan residents in the dark

BC Hydro on site investigating Westside Road outage

PHOTOS: Patients pelt doctors with snowballs, all for BC Children’s Hospital

The snowball fight was to raise funds for the annual Snowball Fight for Kids Campaign

Rocky start to Rider Express’ first year operating in B.C.

Company hopes to add a night bus between Vancouver and Calgary

‘Our culture is not a religion,’ Indigenous educator tells B.C. Supreme Court in case of smudging at school

Mother also gave evidence Tuesday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Wednesday

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

Escape Santa Claus’ workshop at Pritchard Hall

Players must find their way out of three puzzle-filled rooms

Court hears man’s multiple property crimes in Shuswap fueled by addiction

Accused completes sentence, states he’s ready to do good things

Trudeau to take sober approach to unveiling new cabinet for minority mandate

Liberals survived a bruising campaign that diminished Trudeau’s stature as a champion of diversity

Most Read