April 12, 2017
President Donald Trump’s administration accused Russia on Tuesday of trying to shield Syria’s government from blame for a deadly gas attack, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson brought a Western message to Moscow condemning its support for President Bashar al-Assad.
Trump, who has faced criticism for lacking a broader strategy to deal with the Syria crisis, insisted he has no plans to “go into” the war-torn country.
Senior White House officials, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said Assad’s government carried out the April 4 sarin nerve gas attack on civilians in Syria’s Idlib province that killed 87 people, including many children, to put pressure on rebels making advances in the area.
Russia has defended the Syrian leader against U.S. allegations that his forces carried out the attack, saying there was no evidence. Russia has blamed Syrian rebels.
“It’s clear that the Russians are trying to cover up what happened there,” one White House official said.