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Kerry: Syria Used Sarin Gas Against Civilians

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says independent testing confirms the Syrian military used deadly sarin nerve gas on civilians in Damascus last month.

Kerry told U.S. media Sunday he is confident that Congress "will do what is right," as President Barack Obama seeks approval for a military strike against Syria. Kerry calls the case against Syria "overwhelming." He said the president has the power to act, no matter what Congress decides.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Maqdad says Mr. Obama's decision to seek approval from Congress shows he is hesitant and confused.

Arab League foreign ministers ended a meeting Sunday by calling on the world to take what they call the "necessary deterrent" steps against Syria. A resolution issued after the meeting calls those responsible for the chemical weapons strike "war criminals."

Syria's state news agency quotes President Bashar al-Assad as saying Syria is capable of confronting any "external aggression."



U.S. intelligence says more than 1,000 civilians, including entire families, were killed when Syrian forces dropped poison gas on four Damascus suburbs August 21. United Nations inspectors plan to deliver samples collected in Syria to laboratories on Monday.

The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons and says the rebels have used poison gas against Syrian troops.

President Obama says the United States should take military action against Syria but thinks it is important for the country to have a debate on the issue. He has formally asked Congress to let him use military force in Syria to "deter, disrupt, prevent and degrade" the potential for more chemical attacks. He says no U.S. troops would go to Syria.

Congress is not expected to take up the Syrian issue before lawmakers return from vacation next week.

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