Israel: Syria Has Been Using Chemical Weapons

Ally says use has been 'continuous,' puts pressure on US
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2013 6:38 AM CDT
Israel: Syria Has Been Using Chemical Weapons
This citizen journalism image shows anti-Syrian regime protesters chanting slogans and waving the Syrian revolutionary flag during a demonstration, in Aleppo, Friday, April 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC)

An Israeli official has offered the country's firmest assertion yet that Syria is using chemical arms, calling the evidence "quite clear," the New York Times reports. "The regime has increasingly used chemical weapons," says Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, the military's leading intelligence official, adding that Syria has more than 1,000 tons of such agents. The pronouncement follows a letter to the UN from British and French officials warning of evidence of the weapons' use, and it puts pressure on President Obama to take action, the Times notes.

Obama previously called the use of chemical weapons a "red line," but his administration hasn't yet suggested that Syria has crossed that line. Yesterday, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said the US was still evaluating evidence. But Brun called the weapons' use "continuous," saying they'd been deployed in Aleppo, Homs, and maybe Damascus. "Which chemical weapons? Probably Sarin," he said. He indicated victims' foaming mouths and dilated pupils in photos, Reuters adds. "The very fact that they have used chemical weapons without any appropriate reaction—this is a very worrying development, because it might signal that this is legitimate.” (More Syria stories.)

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