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
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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.

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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

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