WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday the chemical weapons use against civilians in Syria is inexcusable and "undeniable," and that President Barack Obama will be making an informed decision on how to respond.
"Indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity," Kerry said in a forceful statement delivered in the State Department press briefing room.
"By any standard, it is inexcusable and -- despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured -- it is undeniable, " he said.
"What is before us today is real, and it is compelling," said Kerry, noting that while investigators are still gathering additional evidence on the ground, the U.S. side has no doubt on what had transpired in the suburbs of Damascus, and that Syrian government has the capability to launch such an attack.
Accusing the Bashar al-Assad regime of destroying evidence, Kerry said "our sense of basic humanity is offended not only by this cowardly crime, but by the cynical attempt to cover it up."
Kerry said Obama "believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people," and that he will be making an informed decision on how to respond.
Kerry, however, gave no timeline as to when Obama will make the decision.
Kerry also said he spoke on Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, and "made it very clear to him that if the regime, as he argued, had nothing to hide, then their response should be immediate, immediate transparency, immediate access, not shelling."
Since reports of chemical weapons use in Syria emerged last week, Washington has been keeping mum about how it will respond.
On Saturday, Obama called a National Security Council meeting and "received a detailed review of a range of potential options he had requested be prepared for the United States and the international community to respond to the use of chemical weapons. "
MOSCOW, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Western accusations that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons are "an insult to common sense," President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Russian newspaper Izvestia published Monday.
"Such accusations are political, and the reason for this was the series of victories by government forces over the terrorists," he said in the interview, posted on the newspaper's website.Full story
JERUSALEM, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Sunday evening accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad 's government of routinely using unconventional weaponry against insurgents and civilians in the Syrian conflict, according to a statement issued by the minister's office.
"There are many events taking place in our region, especially the use of unconventional weaponry by an unconventional regime -- a move that caused the tragic death of hundreds of innocent civilians," Ya'alon said when meeting visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, referring to an alleged chemical missile strike on the outskirts of Damascus on Wednesday.Full story
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. PresidentBarack Obamaconvened a meeting of his national security team on Saturday to review options of responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Obama and his military and security aides met at theWhite Houseto assess the latest intelligence concerning the alleged chemical attack by Syrian government troops last Wednesday, and discuss the options of a U.S. response, the White House said in a statement.Full story
ISTANBUL, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition umbrella group in exile, called upon Saturday the West and Arabic countries to intervene to stop the bloodshed in Syria.
Ahmad Al-Jarba, the president of the SNC, said "We ask U.S. President Barack Obama and the leaders of other Western countries and Arab world to be responsible at personal level and intervene to stop the 'massacre' in Syria."Full story