US says Syrian forces likely fired tear gas on civilians

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is accusing forces backed by the Syrian government and Russia of firing tear gas at civilians and falsely claiming it was a rebel chemical weapons attack.

The incident occurred Nov. 24 amid fighting near the government-held city of Aleppo and reportedly left dozens injured.

A State Department spokesman says the government of President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) and Russia had falsely accused opposition groups of a chlorine attack. Robert Palladino says the U.S. has "credible information" that pro-government forces likely fired tear gas.

He says Russian and Syrian personnel were involved and are using the attack as an opportunity to undermine confidence in a cease-fire in Idlib, an anti-government stronghold.

He says officials have prevented an investigation of the site.

Rebels have dismissed accusations they used poison gas.