Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Church attack aftermath - France's political fallout: who stands to benefit?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Safety at any cost in Israel

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: ‘Genius’, ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ and ‘Endless Summer’

Read more

FOCUS

Europe struggles to crack down on weapons trafficking

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France priest terror attack: Is Europe helpless?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Another drop in iPhone sales, so why are Apple shares rising?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Horror in the church: Priest 'assassinated by barbarians'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Online reactions to French church attack

Read more

THE DEBATE

France church attack: Priest killed in Normandy, assailants dead

Read more

Middle east

Obama ‘sceptical’ of Syria's rebel chemical attack claims

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-03-21

US President Barack Obama in a press conference in Israel on Wednesday said that he was “deeply sceptical” of the Syrian government’s claims that rebel forces had recently used chemical weapons in a deadly attack near the northern city of Aleppo.

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the US is “deeply skeptical” of claims by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government that rebel forces used chemical weapons in a deadly attack near the northern city of Aleppo the day before.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Obama said that the US was investigating whether chemical weapons had in fact been used in the attack on Tuesday, which claimed the lives of 26 people.

"Use of chemical weapons is a game changer," Obama says

“Once we establish the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer,” Obama said, echoing previous comments that such a move would amount to crossing a “red line” for the United States.

Both the Assad regime and Syrian rebels have traded accusations that the other used chemical weapons in the attack, and have called for an international investigation. However, Obama voiced his doubt over claims that rebel forces were behind the incident.

“I am deeply skeptical of any claim that it was in fact the opposition who used the chemical weapons,” Obama said. “Everybody who knows the facts of the chemical weapons stockpiles inside of Syria as well as the Syrian government’s capabilities, I think, would question those claims.”

The US president added that Assad’s government would be held accountable if they were found to be responsible for the attack.

“We have been clear that the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people would be a serious and tragic mistake,” Obama said. “The Assad regime must understand that they will be held accountable for the use of chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorists.”

If confirmed, it would be the first time chemical weapons have been used in Syria’s two-year old conflict, which has killed an estimated 70,000 people.
 

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-03-20

  • SYRIA

    Syrian govt, rebels in chemical attack accusations

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    The twin threat posed by Syria’s chemical weapons

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria marks two-year anniversary of crisis amid arms push

    Read more

COMMENT(S)