Thursday, 22 August 2013

In Syria, fresh claims of chemical weapons attacks

Syrian rebels said August 21 that 635 people were killed in chemical attacks carried out in the suburbs around Damascus, Now Lebanon reported... Other opposition groups claimed even higher casualty figures, including the Syrian National Coalition, which put the number at 1,300...A team of United Nations inspectors are already in Syria looking for evidence of chemical weapons use...The Syrian army calls the charges "totally unfounded"...Western intelligence agencies claimed in June they had evidence of the Syrian regime using chemical weapons, but could not rule out the attacks came from rebel groups...The United States has previously said chemical weapon use would be a “game changer” for the conflict...If the UN inspectors are allowed into the affected suburbs and uncover robust evidence, the US position on intervention may change...Before the Obama administration commits deeper into the conflict, some important questions still need to be asked about why the regime would use weapons so near to UN inspectors, or whether regime artillery bombardments accidentally struck rebel stockpiles of chemical weapons, or whether it was some rebel groups using the weapons in the area...Ultimately, if evidence is discovered proving chemical weapons use, it is uncertain how the UN or the international community will respond.

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