U.S. plays down media report that Syria used chemical weapons

WASHINGTON Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:41am IST

A Free Syrian Army fighter inspects damages in Harem town, Idlib Governorate, January 14, 2013. Picture taken January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Abdalghne Karoof/Files

A Free Syrian Army fighter inspects damages in Harem town, Idlib Governorate, January 14, 2013. Picture taken January 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Abdalghne Karoof/Files

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday poured cold water on a media report that chemical weapons had been used in the Syrian conflict, but reiterated that if Syrian President Bashar al Assad's government did resort to these weapons, it would be held to account.

"The reporting we have seen from media sources regarding alleged chemical weapons incidents in Syria has not been consistent with what we believe to be true about the Syrian chemical weapons program," White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

He was responding to a report in Foreign Policy magazine that the U.S. State Department had concluded the Syrian military likely used poison gas against its own people in a deadly attack last month.

"If the Assad regime makes the tragic mistake of using chemical weapons, or fails to meet its obligation to secure them, the regime will be held accountable," Vietor said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last month that Assad's government had concentrated its chemical arsenal in two depots in an effort to make them more secure. Lavrov also played down the chances that they would used against rebel fighters.

According to the United Nations, more than 60,000 people have died in the 22-month long conflict between Assad forces and the opposition battling to end decades of his family's rule. (Reporting by Arshad Mohammed, writing by Alister Bull; Editing by Jackie Frank and Christopher Wilson)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Fighting the Islamic State

Students take part in a demonstration as one of them holds pictures of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L) and founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran November 4, 2010. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/Files

Iran supreme leader blames West for Islamic State rise, wants regional solution

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Western powers on Tuesday for the rise of Islamic State (IS) insurgents in Iraq and Syria and said they had no business tampering with the region's geopolitics.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

HK Protests

HK Protests

Hong Kong protesters plan march after fruitless talks with government.  Full Article 

Double Murder

Double Murder

Thailand tourist murder suspects retract confessions.  Full Article 

Rousseff in Lead

Rousseff in Lead

Brazil's Rousseff pulls ahead of Neves before Sunday's election - poll.  Full Article 

Indonesia Cabinet

Indonesia Cabinet

Indonesia president to make new cabinet picks after 8 rejected.  Full Article 

Fighting Ebola

Fighting Ebola

J&J aims for 1 million Ebola vaccine doses in 2015.  Full Article 

Baghdad Bombing

Baghdad Bombing

Baghdad restaurant bombs kill 21  Full Article 

Canada On Alert

Canada On Alert

Canada raises terrorism threat level, cites Islamist chatter.  Full Article 

Foreign Threat?

Foreign Threat?

Sweden gets two new sightings, as hunt for undersea intruder goes on.  Full Article 

Iran Nuclear Talks

Iran Nuclear Talks

Exclusive: Iran offers "compromises" in nuclear talks, West unmoved  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage