News / Middle East

US Investigating Chemical Weapons Reported in Syria

President Obama at news conference in Jerusalem, Mar. 20, 2013
President Obama at news conference in Jerusalem, Mar. 20, 2013
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States will thoroughly investigate reports of chemical weapons use in Syria.

Speaking in Jerusalem Wednesday, Obama said any use of chemical weapons would be a "tragic mistake," adding that the administration was "deeply skeptical" of claims that rebel forces used them.

Earlier, the U.S. ambassador to Syria told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that the United States has no evidence to support charges chemical weapons were used this week in northern Syria.

In New York, the U.S. joined Britain and France in calling on the United Nations to investigate the allegations.  

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claims that rebels used chemical weapons near Aleppo, while the rebels say Assad forces were responsible.

Related video report by Cindy Saine
US Lawmakers Debate Moves to End Syria Conflicti
X
March 21, 2013 1:58 AM
U.S. officials say they are looking very carefully at reports that chemical weapons were used in Syria this week. U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford made the disclosure on Wednesday during testimony to a Congressional committee, but added the administration has so far seen no evidence to substantiate the claims. At the same hearing, a number of lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee pressed the ambassador on whether the United States should do more to try to end the Syrian conflict that has killed an estimated 70,000 people. VOA's Cindy Saine has more.
The Assad government has already asked United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons.  The Syrian opposition also wants an independent investigation.

In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament reports of a chemical attack in Syria strengthened the case for relaxing a European Union arms embargo on the country.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Igor from: Russia
March 21, 2013 1:44 AM
Barack Obama says the United States will thoroughly investigate reports of chemical weapons use in Syria. The problem is whether the USA is eligible for carrying out such an investivation and then declare the result because the USA is an ally of those terrorist groups who are fighting Syrian government. So what the USA is doing indeed now is trying to frame up evidence to blame Syrian government for such an attack. The west and Israel will have an excellent excuse to intervine in and overthrow Syrian government. A dirty trick which has been applied so many times before. The chemical rocket may be launched by the terrorists and their teacher will conduct an investigation and then Assad will be blamed for that. Hey Obama, we can see you through!


by: kanaikaalirumporai
March 20, 2013 6:48 PM
Yes!, He'd be preparing to look into and even plant evidence to implicate Assad, for the regime is at present is not a friend of the US, but in other cases, like the one VOA deliberately omitted commenting possibility titled " Sri Lanka's Ex-Army Head Ready to Face Allegations of War Crimes", where such weapons have in deed been employed, the response by this same US administration is a different, because the use was actually sanctioned by the US and it's current ally against China, the Indian Union. If it's Assad or Saddam Hussain or even Ahmadinejad(who are really evil), evidence may even be planted for the purpose, but if the culprit is either Israel, or Sri Lanka or anybody who can suit the thinking, then they will be allowed to do their own investigations, trial and the verdict(if there ever be any guilt) for their alleged crimes. In other words, the guilty being allowed to punish himself. A wonderful justice system!, like Mr. Obama the wonderful himself!


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
March 20, 2013 3:50 PM
More and more it looks like the Assad gvmt is testing the international response to a Chemical or Biological weapon's use. I hope the international community has provided emergency protective gear and antidote serums/antibiotic/ antiviral agents, so that the medical NGO's can help themselves and civilians, should a full blown Chem or Bio attack take place.
The sit in Syria continues to deterriorate for trapped civilians, and even external and internal refugees. There is no question that NGOs need more resources, I hope the international promises made, wrt resources, do materialize, so that the victims of the Syrian civil war can be helped.


by: Dolmatia from: Germany
March 20, 2013 3:47 PM
Chemical weapons may have bee used in Syria - but by whom...??
It is far more likely that it has been used by Al Nusra (Muslim Brotherhood) to target civilians... the same way they have propagated their lies in Gaza, Kosovo, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq....


by: Martin from: UK
March 20, 2013 3:37 PM
this allegation of "chemical weapons" attacks in Syria... is a risky strategic move by the Muslim Brotherhood. if it proves to be another one of their lies (of which many have been confirmed lies) they risk total alienation by the nations they hope to recruit for their cause... if it proves true, and still non comes to their aid... that means that they have been exposed for what they really are... which is a terrorist jihadist organization that must be eradicated... civilized society can not coexist with Jihadist ideology... one or the other has to be dead

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid