U.S. says ‘strong evidence’ Syria used chemical weapons

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday there was “strong evidence” that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against rebel forces, according to AFP.

“This fight is about the terrible choices that the Assad regime has made with its willingness to kill anywhere... to use gas, which we believe there is strong evidence of use of,” Kerry said during a Google+ hangout.

The U.S. government cited for the first time two weeks ago the Syrian regime’s possible use of chemical weapons against its own people, but President Barack Obama stressed there was insufficient proof to determine whether a “red line” had been crossed, AFP reported.

Earlier Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said tests were conducted on Syrian casualties, which arrived in Turkey, suggesting chemical weapons may have been used by Syrian security forces.

Davutoglu spoke from the Jordanian capital and said further tests were being conducted in order to verify the recent evidence.


“We have been making tests and we have some indications regarding chemical weapons being used, but in order to make sure and verify we are continuing these tests and will be sharing these tests with U.N. agencies,” Davutoglu was reported saying by Reuters.

On Thursday, Britain said it believed it was “very likely” the Syrian government used chemical arms. However, the British prime minister said there was no proven evidence Syrian opposition fighters used such weapons.

“Our assessment is that chemical weapons use in Syria is very likely to have been initiated by the regime,” said a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron as quoted by Reuters.

“We have no evidence to date of opposition use,” he said.

In other remarks at Friday’s Google+ hangout, Kerry turned to Syria’s future, saying: “If you’re willing to compromise in the choosing of the people who will run that transitional government and you choose in good faith people who are prepared to put in front of the people of Syria a fair choice about who their leader ought to be, then I believe you could avoid war and you could have a settlement,” AFP reported.

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