NATO: Chemical arms use by Assad breaches international law

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NATO’s Secretary General, Ander Fogh Rasmussen said on Friday that the international community has made it clear that any use of chemical weapons in Syria is a severe breach of international law.

NATO urged Syria to allow for a United Nations chemical weapons inspection.

“I welcome clear U.S. statement. Urgent that Syria regime should let U.N. investigate all reports of chemical weapons use,” he said on Twitter, adding that the use of chemical weapons was “completely unacceptable,” AFP reported.

The European Union echoed this statement and said U.S. allegations reinforce the need for U.N. inspectors in Syria, and for increased efforts to find a political solution to the two year conflict.

“This assessment and others also circulated makes it even more important that a U.N. verification mission be deployed to Syria,” said a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, as quoted by AFP.

Earlier on Friday, a senior Russian lawmaker also said via Twitter that information on the use of chemical weapons by Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad was fabricated. He also suggested the United States would use it to justify intervention in the Syrian conflict.

“Information about the use by Assad of chemical weapons has been fabricated in the same place as the lies about (Saddam)Hussein's weapons of mass destruction,” Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign policy committee in the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, said on Twitter. “Obama is taking the same path as George Bush.”

The news comes after the White House said on Thursday it had been concluded the Assad regime used nerve gas against citizens and crossed what President Barack Obama had called a ‘red line.’

The Obama administration said it has provided Russia with the proof and the subject will be discussed at an upcoming G8 summit.

Earlier, a report by the New York Times said U.S. and European intelligence experts concluded that army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his people.

“The “intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year,” the Times reported, citing an “an internal memorandum circulating inside the government.”

President Obama said in April that there was evidence that gas Sarin was used in Syria but there was not enough proof. “He now believes that the proof is definitive,” the Times quoted American officials as saying.

The memorandum states that between 100 and 150 Syrians have been killed so far in chemical weapons attacks and that experts have “high confidence” in their assessment.

“Our intelligence community has high confidence in that assessment given multiple, independent streams of information,” according to the memorandum.

The report has put pressure on Obama to take a decisive approach to the crisis in Syrian. His long-perceived lackluster policy towards the conflict has frayed U.S. relations with its allies in the Middle East and even in the West.

Last week a French diplomat told Al Arabiya of a “silent rift” between Paris and Washington over a declaration by France that chemical weapons were used in Syria. The diplomat said the United States did not want to declare that chemical weapons were used because that would put the Obama administration in a position to intervene.

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