Rights Group: Syrian Regime Behind Chemical Attack [VIDEO]
An international human rights group says evidence “strongly suggest” that Syrian government forces fired rockets with warheads containing a nerve agent into a Damascus suburb in August, killing hundreds of people there.
Human Rights Watch says it has examined documents from the alleged chemical attack on Aug. 21 in Ghouta, a sprawling, rebel-held suburb of the Syrian capital.
The New York-based group says the nerve agent used was “most likely, sarin.”
In Tuesday’s report, HRW says it analyzed witness accounts and “the type of rockets and launchers used” in the attack.
It also says the group’s experts studied documented medical symptoms of the victims and analyzed activist videos posted on the Internet after the attack, which has brought the U.S. to the brink of a military intervention Syria’s civil war.
Talking diplomacy in Syria, Obama goes to Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is heading to Congress with fresh hopes of a diplomatic breakthrough that would allow Syria’s government to avert U.S. missile strikes if it surrenders its chemical weapons arsenal. His Tuesday meetings with Democratic and Republican lawmakers come at a time that opposition to military action is mounting among Americans and lawmakers.
Obama had planned to use the meetings with senators to personally lobby his plan of targeted strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in retaliation for last month’s massive chemical weapons attack outside of Damascus. Instead, he signaled in interviews ahead of his trip to Capitol Hill that new diplomacy involving Russia and others could eliminate the risks of a repeat chemical attack without requiring American military intervention.
France: Russia bowed to Western pressure on Syria
PARIS (AP) — France’s top diplomat is trumpeting Western pressure for leading to a “turnaround” in Russia’s position about chemical weapons in Syria.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius expressed France’s “interest and caution” about a proposal backed by Moscow for the chemical weapons arsenals held by Russia’s ally Syria to be placed under international control and destroyed.
On Europe-1 radio Tuesday, Fabius said Russia had “changed — very good!” He attributed this to Western pressure and “overwhelming evidence” of a chemical weapons attack in Syria.
The United States and France have threatened military action after the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds.
Fabius also warned that finding and destroying “more than 1,000 tons of chemical weapons” would be very difficult and require international verification amid Syria’s civil war.
Israel skeptical on Syria giving up chemical arms
Senior Israeli politicians have voiced skepticism about Russia’s proposal for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons to international control.
Avigdor Lieberman, who chairs the parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee, told Israel Radio on Tuesday that Syria could use the proposal to “buy time.”
He says Syrian President Bashar “Assad is winning time and lots of it.”
Lieberman, an ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, says Israel doesn’t have details of the Russian offer and that the logistics of a weapons transfer are unclear.
President Shimon Peres warned on Monday that negotiations over a weapons transfer would be “tough” and that Syria is “not trustworthy.”
Lieberman says Syria is likely stalling, as Iran allegedly did during early nuclear negotiations when faced with an offer to transfer enriched uranium stockpiles abroad.