US, others launch new tool to punish chemical weapons users

PARIS — The United States and 28 other countries are launching a new plan to better identify and punish anyone who uses chemical weapons, amid new reports of a suspected chemical attack in Syria.

The initiative was announced Tuesday in Paris, where U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and diplomats from the other signatory countries.

The group plans to publish information about chemical attacks to name and shame perpetrators and eventually sanction them. U.N. efforts to punish perpetrators in Syria have failed, repeatedly blocked by Syrian ally Russia.

Activists and rescue teams said the Syrian government launched an attack Monday with suspected poisonous gas that affected nearly 20 civilians in a rebel-held suburb near Damascus. The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons.

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