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December 7, 2021

U.S. on Syria chemical attack: What’s the evidence?

Syria’s Assad says US has no proof of chemical weapons use.

The gruesome images are clear. There’s little doubt Syrians suffered a chemical attack last month. But videos of the aftermath – including 13 shown to Congress – do nothing to show who was responsible, CNN reprots.
President Barack Obama says he has “high confidence” that the regime is to blame — the strongest position short of confirmation. But his administration has not released hard evidence.
Secretary of State John Kerry says declassifying any more information could endanger “sources and methods” of U.S. intelligence gathering. Britain, France and NATO also blame Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the horror in a Damascus suburb last month.
Still, as Obama engages in a full-court press to build U.S. support for strikes, some Americans hear echoes of a different basketball analogy: “slam dunk.”
Some lawmakers remain skeptical.
“The administration is asking us to go to war on the basis of a four-page document and a 12-page document and none of the underlying evidence,” Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, complained on CNN’s New Day Saturday.
“They have evidence showing the regime has probably the responsibility for the attacks. They haven’t linked it directly to Assad, in my estimation,” Rep. Buck McKeon, R-California, told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.
In another development, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has told a US broadcaster there is “no evidence” that his government has used chemical weapons, the BBC informs.
In the interview with PBS, to be aired on Monday, he also suggested his allies would retaliate if the West attacked.
Lawmakers will return from their summer recess on Monday to start discussing President Barack Obama’s resolution to launch a “limited, narrow” strike. A Senate vote on the issue is expected as early as Wednesday, although the timetable for Mr Obama’s request is less certain in the House, where the measure faces an even rockier time. The US accuses Mr Assad’s forces of killing 1,429 people in a sarin gas attack on 21 August on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus. Mr Assad would neither confirm nor deny that his government kept chemical weapons, but said that if they existed, they were “in centralised control”. Mr Assad also reportedly “suggested that there would be, among people that are aligned with him, some kind of retaliation if a strike was made”, PBS said.
Assad thanks Putin for support
Syrian President Bashar Assad thanked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for supporting Syria during the G20 Summit last week. “The president asked me to pass on his thanks to Putin for his position during and after the G20 summit,” Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on behalf of Assad, Jerusalem Post informs.

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