Russia: Syrian chemical weapons attack could be 'staged'

Russia: Syrian chemical weapons attack could be 'staged'
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday said the chemical attack in Syria last week that led to a U.S. airstrike was likely "staged."

Speaking alongside Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at a Moscow press conference, Lavrov questioned the U.S.'s conclusion that Syrian President Bashar Assad was behind the chemical attack that killed more than 80 Syrians last week.

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"There's growing evidence that this was staged," Lavrov said, according to Bloomberg News.

He warned that another U.S. airstrike could prompt "grave consequences not only for regional but global security."

The U.S. launched almost 59 missiles last week at the air base where, officials say, the chemical attack originated.

The Trump administration had previously appeared open to working with Assad and Syria to prioritize the fight against terrorism, but President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE said he was moved to take action by photos of children suffering and dying in the chemical attack.

This week, Russia vetoed a U.S.-backed United Nations resolution condemning Syria for the attack, arguing that the international community needs to do more before it points its finger at Syria.

Lavrov on Friday said the investigation should be widened to include more experts instead of relying solely on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. 

"If our U.S. colleagues and some European nations believe that their version is right, they have no reason to fear the creation of such an independent group," Lavrov said.

"The investigation into this high-profile incident must be transparent and leave no doubt that someone is trying to hide something."

Assad himself said the chemical attack was fabricated in an Agence France-Presse interview Thursday. 

"Were they dead at all?" he asked