US cites evidence of chemical use in Syria
The United States has said the use of chemical weapons in attacks on civilians in Syria last week was "undeniable".
"What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity," Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday.
"By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable," he said.
Government and opposition forces in Syria have reportedly accused each other of unleashing poison gas last week in a number of towns in the region of Ghouta.
Syria's opposition said that as many as 1,300 people were killed.
The U.S. said the intervention was necessary as its President Barack Obama has made it such a priority to stop the proliferation of these weapons.
"There is a reason the international community has set a clear standard and why many countries have taken major steps to eradicate these weapons. There is a reason why President Obama has made it such a priority to stop the proliferation of these weapons and lock them down where they do exist," Kerry said.
"There is a reason why President Obama has made clear to the Assad regime that this international norm cannot be violated without consequences," he said.
"Moreover, we know that the Syrian regime maintains custody of these chemical weapons. We know that the Syrian regime has the capacity to do this with rockets. We know that the regime has been determined to clear the opposition from those very places where the attacks took place," Kerry said.
He also accused the Syrian regime for failing to cooperate with the UN investigation, using it only to stall and to stymie the important effort to bring to light what happened in Damascus in the dead of night.
"I spoke on Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Muallim and I made it very clear to him that if the regime, as he argued, had nothing to hide, then their response should be immediate - immediate transparency, immediate access - not shelling. Their response needed to be unrestricted and immediate access. Failure to permit that, I told him, would tell its own story," Kerry said.
(Posted on 27-08-2013)