U.S. concludes Assad's forces used chemical weapons in Syria

WASHINGTON Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:31pm EDT

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemical weapons on a small scale against rebel fighters in Syria's civil war, the White House said on Thursday.

The assessment, which followed President Barack Obama's demand for conclusive proof after U.S. intelligence analysts determined earlier this year that chemical weapons had likely been used, could put pressure on Washington to respond aggressively to the crossing of what Obama himself had called a "red line."

"Following a deliberative review, our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, told reporters.

"Our intelligence community has high confidence in that assessment given multiple, independent streams of information," he said. "The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete."

(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick, Roberta Rampton and Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Sandra Maler)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (19)
Slammy wrote:
I am sure some will post on here that this is a big lie. If such posts are made, keep this in mind, if Obama wanted to lie about this, he could have done so a long time ago.
My only concern is that so far only small amounts of chemicals have been used. If the US comes on too strong the regime may decide to try and dump as much of this stuff on the opposition as they can before the US can make a difference. Which, I think in the long term, will work against the regime as the rebels can make many of the same chemicals although without sophisticated delivery systems. Still, the daily death count now how the potential to be in the thousands to tens of thousands.

Jun 13, 2013 5:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Fromkin wrote:
Erika Salomon is really busy in this propaganda barrage against Syria. This has to do with Aleppo offensive and also the US looking for a cover to intervene on behalf of its terrorist fighters.

Jun 13, 2013 5:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kommy wrote:
Same like WMD in Iraq. Assad get rid of t-people too quickly, someone wants that this mill of attrition continues.

Jun 13, 2013 6:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.