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Israel Claims Syria Has Used Chemical Weapons

Jeremy Fuster |
April 23, 2013 | 12:16 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

(James Gordon / Creative Commons)
(James Gordon / Creative Commons)
Israel's head military intelligence analyst said Tuesday that there is evidence that Syria has been using chemical weapons over the past few weeks, according to The New York Times. The Obama administration had declared last month that such use of chemical weapons would be a "game changer" and would lead to American military intervention.

“The very fact that they have used chemical weapons without any appropriate reaction is a very worrying development, because it might signal that this is legitimate,” said Brigadier-General Itai Brun of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Brun cited photographs of victims with contracted pupils and foaming at the mouth as evidence that nerve gas has been used. This accusation follows letters sent from the British and French governments to U.N. secretary Ban Ki-moon declaring that there was credible evidence that Syria has used chemical weapons since December in or near major cities, including Damascus. An independent consultant on chemical weapons told Reuters that the symptoms described by Brun were consistent with nerve gas, but more evidence is needed than photographs in order to be conclusive.

The Syrian government has made their own claims that opposition forces have used chemical weapons against their troops. State television claimed that more than 30 people had been killed in an attack near Aleppo on March 19 after "terrorists fired rockets containing chemical materials." Brun's claims are also related to this incident.

SEE ALSO | Obama Reiterates Syrian Intervention Policy

An anonymous military official told The New York Times that Brun's evidence has been sent to the Obama administration, but the U.S. has not fully accepted it. President Barack Obama said that he would consider the use of chemical weapons a "red line" that would lead to U.S. troops entering the conflict.

"When you start seeing weapons that can cause potential devastation, and mass casualties, and you let that genie out of the bottle, then you are looking potentially at even more horrific scenes than we have already seen in Syria, and the international community has to act on that additional information," he said during a visit to Jerusalem in March. 

Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday that the U.S. is continuing to assess the claims made by Britain, France, and Israel. 


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