News / USA

Biden: 'No Doubt' Syria Carried Out Chemical Attack

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (file photo)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (file photo)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday there is no doubt that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out last week's chemical attack in Damascus, and must be held accountable. The remarks came as President Barack Obama continues to assess options for a response with key allies.

Amid preparations for some form of military strike on Syria, Biden began a speech to the national convention of The American Legion in Texas with tough words for the Assad government.

There is no doubt, he said, that an essential international norm has been violated, and no doubt that the Syrian regime is responsible. And he said the United States and its allies are determined to ensure there is accountability.

"The president believes, and I believe, that those who use chemical weapons against defenseless men, women and children should and must be held accountable," said Biden.

Intelligence info

U.S. Military Assets in SyriaU.S. Military Assets in Syria
U.S. Military Assets in Syria
U.S. Military Assets in Syria
Although the White House has said the facts are clear, Obama's spokesman faced additional questions Tuesday about the intelligence information forming the basis for an eventual response.

Jay Carney said a report from the intelligence community about the alleged August 21 chemical weapons attack in Damascus will be released this week. He said a "careful review of the facts" supports the conclusion that the Assad regime was behind the attack, and that a response is in the interests of the U.S. and the world.

"To allow it to happen without a response would be to invite further use of chemical weapons and to have that international standard dissolve, and the consequences of that, given the volatility of the region, and the concerns that this nation and many others have about proliferation of chemical weapons, would be very serious indeed," said Carney.

The Syrian government denies launching chemical attacks and has blamed rebels fighting to oust Assad for the attack near Damascus that left hundreds dead.

Obama continues to consult with his national security team. He, Biden and others in the administration have been making telephone calls to world leaders.

Syria was one focus of a meeting, previously scheduled, that National Security Adviser Susan Rice had with an Israeli delegation that included a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Strike against use of chemical weapons

Anthony Cordesman, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he believes a military strike likely will target key Syrian government and military installations.

"You know this not only will send a powerful message to deter the use of chemical weapons, it will also indicate the U.S. has taken action which will in some ways strengthen the rebels and will weaken the Assad regime as a whole," he said.

White House spokesman Carney was asked why a U.S. and Western military response would not target Assad himself.

"I want to make clear that the options we are considering are not about regime change, they are about responding to a clear violation of an international standard that prohibits the use of chemical weapons," he said.

The White House continues to stress that it views the eventual response to last week's chemical attack separately from the overall issue of ending Syria's civil war. Carney said that requires a negotiated political solution, but it cannot involve Assad.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: martha from: USA
August 28, 2013 7:28 AM
Another False Flag to use as an excuse to attack another Middle Eastern country, Syria was not a threat to the United States OR "Israel."

by: Joe64 from: Hong Kong, China
August 28, 2013 12:08 AM
I don't think that US wants to know the truth. It is the same thing that what it happened to the war of Iraq many years ago.

by: Shane from: London, U.K.
August 27, 2013 11:19 PM
British people are against this invasion or 'military action'. You cannot liberate these people so stop it. We are all in economic troubles already, we do not want to hear that we are spending another £1billion on dropping warheads in Syria. Let them fight amongst themselves. Stop taking us into your wars America!!
In Response

by: Greg from: New York
August 28, 2013 7:21 AM
Hey Shane, how about standing behind your words and writing to the White House? Sick of people blaming "America". Have to talked to any Americans about how we feel about this bull$hit? You don't think it's sickening to see my tax dollars going to this garbage for the same exact reasons you state? None of us belong there. This is a war of the rich and powerful that regular "joes" end up paying for. Disgusting.

by: Trevor C from: Australia
August 27, 2013 10:27 PM
"Biden: 'No Doubt' Syria Carried Out Chemical Attack." Just as sure as Iraq had weapons of mass destruction no doubt. A foolish man is always very sure of what he says, while a wise man is never quite sure.

by: dekker from: Canada
August 27, 2013 10:23 PM
does it get any sillier than this. We are not doing this to initiate a regime change . Our intention is to slap his hand and warn him next time he goes to bed hungry. Assad surely trembles at that display of parental might. You might as well send him a plate of his favourite cookies and tell him there is more if he puts his toys back in the box.

by: Markt
August 27, 2013 10:22 PM
We have heard these words is deva-vu all over again.....There is something oddly familiar about the words "we have no doubts that-" We were so confident that Iraq had WMD's, too.....
While I do not condone the use of chemical weapons, and I do wish every ill and terrible fate falling upon those employing such terrible weapons, we had better have our 'facts' straight this time around and know for certain and without any doubts which side used them. As far as 'regime change', Mr. Biden, you are correct, we should not attempt that. This country has no business affecting the internal development of any other country no matter how bad or corrupt we think they are. That is not our concern or our business, that is for the Syrians to decide for themselves, and they are doing so at this time, it seems.

by: Quattrone from: USA
August 27, 2013 9:59 PM
Remind me again why we should believe the US government. Its not like they've ever lied about anything before.
In Response

by: Marta Kaye from: united States
August 28, 2013 5:59 AM
Lies lies, and more False Flags. Remember when Saddam ordered chemicals from the U.S. to murder the Kurds and G.W.H.B. did nothing knowing full well what Saddan did, and how about the chemicals from the U.S. Israel used against the Palestinians, or as one stated the chemicals used to murder the Native Americans, or the chemicals the United States used in the Gulf War that was harmful to our American Troops?? Israel has been nit picking Syria since 1968, just when the United States started sending our tax money and weapons to Israel. The United States will do what ever Israel demands and Israel demands all the surounding land.The Goal is to first stir up the people, divide them, oust their leader, weaken the country for an easier takeover as has been going on all over the Middle East. Land for Israel and the oil beneath for the oil companies of the U.S.
Food for Thought!

by: Pappyo from: Toronto
August 27, 2013 9:54 PM
Just wondering, is the US going to strike now or are they willing to wait for the UN to finish their work. Just seems they're itching for another war against a weaker enemy.

by: Carlos from: CA
August 27, 2013 9:43 PM
Mr. Biden .. it would be better don't you think to stop the murder before it happens .. you knew for 859 days that Basher Hitler was making mass murder and maiming .. but your boss President Obama was a coward and did nothing .. your talk is 858 days late ..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs