The US government has expressed skepticism over reports that Turkey used chemical weapons in Syrian northern region of Afrin in its ongoing offensive operation, US White House official Michael Anton told RIA Novosti.
The official says that they are aware of the reports, but cannot confirm them and called for the protection of civilians.
“We are aware of the reports but we cannot confirm them. However, we judge that it is extremely unlikely that Turkish forces used chemical weapons. We continue to call for restraint and protection of civilians in Afrin,” Anton said late on Saturday.
Local doctors and Syria's state-run news agency reported Saturday that six civilians suffered breathing difficulties and other symptoms indicative of poison gas inhalation after an attack launched by Turkey on the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin.
State-run news agency SANA and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group also quoted local doctors in their reports.
The claims could not be independently verified, and videos released from the hospital showed people being fitted with oxygen masks who did not otherwise show symptoms of poison gas inhalation.
Turkish government last month launched military operation dubbed "Olive Branch" supporting Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorist group with ground troops and air strikes in Syria's Afrin.
GOVERNMENT DENIES ALLEGATION CHEMICAL ATTACK
Ankara never used chemical weapons in its operations in Syria, and takes the utmost care of civilians, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, after Syrian Kurdish forces and a monitoring group accused it of carrying out a gas attack in Syria's Afrin region.
"It's just a fabricated story. Turkey has never uses any kind of chemical weapons," Çavuşoğlu told reporters at the Munich Security Conference.