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'High confidence' of Syria chemical weapons use: US
Saturday August 31, 2013 7:04 AM, IANS

The US Thursday said that it "assesses with high confidence" that the Syrian regime was responsible for the Aug 21 alleged chemical weapons attack in some areas of Damascus that is believed to have killed scores.

Releasing its assessment report of the alleged attack that the Bashar al-Assad regime has denied, the US, in a statement, accused the Syrian government of having used a "nerve agent" in the attack.

The statement said that its "all-source assessments are based on human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting".

It said it has shared its classified assessments with the US Congress and key international partners.

It said that a "preliminary US government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in the chemical weapons attack, including at least 426".

While detailing its assessment of the alleged stockpile of chemical weapons the Syrian regime possessed, the statement also said that "the regime's frustration with its inability to secure large portions of Damascus may have contributed to its decision to use chemical weapons on August 21."

It also said that it has identified "one hundred videos attributed to the attack", including many of which show large numbers of bodies exhibiting physical signs consistent with, but not unique to, nerve agent exposure".

It added that a "sampling" of videos posted on the net allegedly showing people dying of the chemical attacks "confirmed that some were shot at the general times and locations described in the footage".

Giving the Syrian opposition clearance from any blame for the alleged attack, the US statement said :"We assess the Syrian opposition does not have the capability to fabricate all of the videos, physical symptoms verified by medical personnel and NGOs, and other information associated with this chemical attack."

It concludes, saying that "there is a substantial body of information that implicates the Syrian government's responsibility in the chemical weapons attack that took place on August 21.As indicated, there is additional intelligence that remains classified because of sources and methods concerns that is being provided to Congress and international partners."

The US statement comes as the British parliament voted not to participate in a potential military action against Syria, in a strong rebuff to British Prime Minister David Cameron's push for a strong response to the alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack.

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