News / Middle East

US Cannot 'Conclusively Determine' Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

US Cannot 'Conclusively Determine' Chemical Weapons Attack in Syriai
X
August 23, 2013 11:10 AM
The United States says it can not yet "conclusively determine" that chemical weapons were used in an attack in Syria Wednesday that Syrian opposition leaders say killed more than 1,000 people. As VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the attack on Thursday with counterparts from the European Union, France, Turkey, Jordan, and Qatar.
US Cannot 'Conclusively Determine' Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria
The United States says it can not yet "conclusively determine" that chemical weapons were used in an attack in Syria Wednesday that Syrian opposition leaders say killed more than 1,000 people. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the attack on Thursday with counterparts from the European Union, France, Turkey, Jordan, and Qatar.

U.S. officials say they are gathering information about Wednesday's alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria as President Obama considers how to respond.

"If these reports are true, it would be an outrageous and flagrant escalation of use of chemical weapons by the regime. So our focus is on nailing down the facts. The president, of course, has a range of options," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

With French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius suggesting using force if chemical weapons claims prove true, U.S. officials say they have been increasing assistance to Syrian rebels since concluding that Syrian government forces launched  earlier chemical weapons attacks. But that's not enough, said former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli.

"We say we are going to support the opposition. We say we have red lines," he said. "We say they're being crossed. And we say we are going to do something. But we don't really do enough to have it be meaningful in any substantive way."

Ereli said U.S. inaction emboldens Syria's allies Iran and Hezbollah.

"We're going to provide arms. What arms? Don't know," he said. "We're going to provide assistance. What assistance? Well, humanitarian assistance. Does that help? It helps the people of Syria, which is great. Does it help get rid of Bashar al-Assad? No."

Syrian rebel spokesman Louay Meqdad said Arab Gulf states are stepping up to arm the rebellion, not the West.

"We are receiving some shipments from some countries, and exactly from some Arabic countries," he said. "Till now the Europe countries, especially France and Britain, and the United States governments, they didn't get any serious step in this field to give us the proper weapons that we need."

Russia's support for President Bashar al-Assad complicates Washington's response as Moscow suggests rebels could have staged the chemical attack to provoke international action against Damascus.

"We expect that experts will clarify this issue and will help to disperse numerous speculations about the use of Syrian chemical weapons," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

If Syrian forces have nothing to do with chemical weapons, U.S. officials say Damascus should allow U.N. weapons inspectors who are already in the country to gather information about the attack.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid