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US Says Russia Tried To Hide Syrian Regime's Involvement In Gas Attack

A declassified intelligence report confirms sarin gas was used on Syrian rebels, and Russia took efforts to hide evidence and misinform the public.
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US Says Russia Tried To Hide Syrian Regime's Involvement In Gas Attack

The White House is accusing Russia of spreading fake news to cover for the Syrian regime after a deadly chemical weapons attack in the country.

declassified intelligence report confirms local reports that the Syrian regime dropped sarin gas over Khan Shaykhun the morning of April 4. 

But Russian officials are disputing those reports.

Russian officials initially called the entire attack a hoax meant to provoke Western support for Syrian rebels.

As mounting evidence made that position harder to defend, Russia's military instead claimed the attack happened at midday and was targeting a terrorist weapon stockpile that contained chemical weapons. 

Although the official U.S. statement stops short of saying Russia knew about the attack in advance, at least one report says Moscow was aware the chemical attack was to take place, then afterward bombed a hospital to destroy evidence. 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Russia on Tuesday after meeting with leaders of the G-7 nations in Italy. 

The countries won't impose new sanctions on Russia for now, but Tillerson said Russia's influence in the Middle East is at risk now that President Bashar al-Assad's hold on Syria is "coming to an end."