Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the U.S. has “undeniable” proof of Syria’s use of chemical weapons and more or less brushed off a United Nations inspection team that has suffered sniper fire to gather evidence in the middle of a war zone.
Although Kerry promised that the U.S. would soon reveal the nature of its evidence, the United Nations had a team on the ground Monday risking life and limb to collect samples and testimony. By delaying that team’s entry into the country, Kerry argued, the Syrian government had effectively sabotaged the U.N.’s investigation.
Last week Syrian rebels claimed that a chemical weapons attack outside Damascus killed close to a thousand people. According to Doctors Without Borders, 355 people were killed.
Russia, which has supplied the Syrian regime with arms and argued its cause at international meetings, has said there is no evidence of a Syrian attack and any military action against the country that did not have the approval of the U.N. Security Council would be a violation of international law.
The Washington Post:
In a strongly worded assessment, Kerry said that evidence now being gathered by United Nations experts on the ground in Syria was important but was not necessary to prove what is already “grounded in facts, informed by conscience and guided by common sense.”
As U.S. warships armed with cruise missiles were positioned in the Mediterranean amid international calls for action, Kerry said that President Obama “will be making an informed decision of how to respond.”
“Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny,” Kerry said.
Sources: The Washington Post, The Associated Press, BBC News.
—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer
AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta
Secretary of State John Kerry said chemical weapons were used in Syria, and he accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of destroying evidence.