Chemical weapons used in Syria, says US

Asserting that chemical weapons were used in Syria by the embattled Assad regime, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday termed the last week’s attack that killed over 300 civilians a “moral obscenity” that should shock the conscience of the world.

While President Barack Obama is soon expected to make an informed decision, Kerry’s remarks came even as a team of UN investigators on ground in Syria were gathering evidences, collecting samples and preparing report in this regard.

“While investigators are gathering additional evidence on the ground, our understanding of what has already happened in Syria is grounded in facts, informed by conscience and guided by common sense.

The reported number of victims, the reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, the firsthand accounts from humanitarian organisations on the ground, like Doctors Without Borders and the Syria Human Rights Commission — these all strongly indicate that everything these images are already screaming at us is real, that chemical weapons were used in Syria,” Kerry told a crowded news conference at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the US State Department.

“What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity.

By any standard, it is inexcusable. Despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable,” Kerry said. He did not take any questions.

“Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny,” he said adding the US including Obama and himself is in touch with its international partners to decide on the next course of action.

“The administration is actively consulting with members of Congress, and we will continue to have these conversations in the days ahead. President Obama has also been in close touch with leaders of our key allies, and the president will be making an informed decision about how to respond to this indiscriminate use of chemical weapons,” he said.

The alleged chemical weapons attack on August 21 in Damascus killed more than 300 civilians, including many children. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied launching the attack.

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