U.S. says reports of chemical attack in Syria 'horrifying' if confirmed, calls for response

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Saturday reports of mass casualties from an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, were “horrifying” and would demand an international response if confirmed.

“These reports, if confirmed, are horrifying and demand an immediate response by the international community,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Citing a history of chemical weapons use by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Nauert said Assad’s government and its backer Russia needed to be held accountable and “any further attacks prevented immediately.”

“Russia, with its unwavering support for the regime ultimately bears responsibility for these brutal attacks,” Nauert said.

Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Michael Perry