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French intelligence: Assad’s forces behind ‘massive’ chemical attack

Published: Updated:

Syrian government forces carried out a “massive and coordinated” chemical attack on Aug. 21, according to a declassified French intelligence report released on Monday.

The report will be presented to lawmakers on Monday as part of a government effort to win domestic support for a planned military action against the Syrian regime.

“This poses a major threat to national and global security,” a government source told Reuters.

The intelligence includes satellite imagery showing the attacks coming from government-controlled areas to the east and west of Damascus and targeting rebel-held zones.

The source said Assad’s forces had since bombed the areas to wipe out evidence.

“Unlike previous attacks that used small amounts of chemicals and were aimed at terrorizing people, this attack was tactical and aimed at regaining territory,” the source said.

Assad warns

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the French daily Le Figaro on Monday the chemical allegations against his forces are “illogical”

He warned of ‘repercussions’ for France if it launched a military strike against his forces.

“Those who make accusations must show evidence. We have challenged the United States and France to come up with a single piece of proof. (Presidents) Obama and Hollande have been incapable of doing so,” Assad said.

“Anybody who contributes to the financial and military reinforcement of terrorists is the enemy of the Syrian people. If the policies of the French state are hostile to the Syrian people, the state will be their enemy,” he said. “There will be repercussions, negative ones obviously, on French interests.”

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said France will not act alone against Syria and that Paris is still seeking to create a coalition for intervention.

(With AFP and Reuters)