United States now believes that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used
chemical weapons against rebel forces, corroborating with an earlier Israeli
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the U.S. government now believes is using chemical weapons against rebel forces, corroborating with an earlier Israeli
intelligence assessment. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
“Our intelligence community does assess
with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical
weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin,”
White House aide Miguel Rodriguez wrote in letters to Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI)
and John McCain (R-AZ), the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the
Wall Street Journal reported.
U.S. Secretary of State Chuck Hagel also
confirmed this shift while touring the Middle East.
“The intelligence community has been
assessing information for some time on this issue,” Hagel said, USA Today reported. “The decision to
make this conclusion was reached in the last 24 hours.”
Earlier this week, the head of the Israel Defense Forces
Military Intelligence Research Branch, Brig. Gen. Itay Baron, said that the
Syrian government used lethal chemical weapons, mainly sarin gas, against armed
rebels several times in the past few weeks, and is continuing to do so.
Additional American allies, namely Great Britain and
France, also believe Assad’s regime used chemical weapons.
President Barack Obama has previously said that Assad’s
use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” for his administration, possibly
triggering U.S. military action.