August 28, 2013 / 2:34 PM / 6 years ago

Evidence points to use of chemical weapons by Assad forces: NATO

A man rides a motorcycle with children gesturing as a U.N. vehicle carrying United Nations chemical weapons experts drives through one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus' suburbs of Zamalka August 28, 2013. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday information from a variety of sources pointed to President Bashar al-Assad’s forces being responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Speaking after a meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels, Rasmussen said any use of such weapons was “unacceptable and cannot go unanswered”, although he did not suggest any response.

“This is a clear breach of long-standing international norms and practice... Those responsible must be held accountable,” he said in a statement.

Western powers are weighing up options for possible military strikes against Syria following a suspected chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb last week that killed hundreds of civilians.

Rasmussen said the military alliance would keep the situation in Syria under “close review”. But a NATO diplomat said there was no discussion during Wednesday’s meeting of a potential role for the alliance in any actions for now.

NATO conducted air strikes in Libya in 2011, mandated by the U.N. Security Council to protect civilians during a violent crackdown against rebels opposing Muammar Gaddafi.

Additional reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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