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

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More