WASHINGTON, March 21 U.S. intelligence agencies
are investigating whether chemical weapons were used this week
in Syria, as both sides of the two-year conflict claim, but have
not made a determination yet, a U.S. intelligence official said
"The intelligence community has not made an assessment at
this point," the intelligence official told Reuters on condition
of anonymity. "The information has not pushed us far enough in
one direction for us to make an assessment yet."
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and rebels
accused each other of using chemical weapons in a rocket attack
near Aleppo on Tuesday that killed 26 people.
President Barack Obama said in Israel on Wednesday that
Assad would be held accountable if it were determined that
chemical weapons had been used in Syria.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice issued a
statement on Thursday welcoming the announcement of a U.N.
"As the UN proceeds with these efforts, we will also
continue to work closely with our partners to obtain further
information regarding any and all credible allegations of the
potential or actual use of chemical weapons in Syria," she said.
A Reuters photographer was told by some of those
hospitalized after the attack on Tuesday of a strong smell of
chlorine in the air and that many victims had fallen down dead
after the blast.
(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Stacey Joyce)