Syria regime denounces US chemical weapons claim

14 June 2013 Last updated at 16:08 Share this pageEmailPrint

Syria has dismissed as “a caravan of lies” claims it used chemical weapons after the US said it would give the rebels “direct military aid”.

President Obama made the decision after his administration concluded Syrian forces under Bashar al-Assad were using chemical weapons, a spokesman said.

A rebel leader, Salim Idris, told the BBC it was a “very important step”.

But Syria’s foreign ministry said the US had used “fabricated information” on chemical weapons to justify the move.

Washington was resorting to “cheap tactics” to justify Mr Obama’s decision to arm the rebels, said a statement from the ministry.

On the ground, there were reports of the fiercest fighting in months in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo.

Two years of conflict had killed at least 93,000 people, the UN said on Thursday, at a current rate of 5,000 people a month. More than 1,700 children under the age of 10 have died, it added.

CIA training?
Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to Mr Obama, said the president had made the decision to increase assistance, including “military support”, to the rebels’ Supreme Military Council (SMC) and Syrian Opposition Coalition.

The US was “comfortable” working with Gen Idris, leader of the SMC, and aimed to isolate some of the more extremist elements of the opposition, such as Sunni militant group al-Nusra, he added.

Mr Rhodes did not give details about the military aid other than to say it would be “different in scope and scale to what we have provided before”.

Until now, the US has limited its help to rebel forces by providing rations and medical supplies.

Administration officials have been quoted by US media as saying it will most likely include sending small arms and ammunition. The New York Times quoted US officials as saying Washington could provide anti-tank weapons.

The CIA is expected to co-ordinate delivery of the military equipment and train the rebel soldiers in how to use it, reports said.

Republican Senator John McCain, who has been outspoken in calls for arming the rebels, said he did not know to which type of arms the term “military aid” referred, but that he hoped for anti-tank weapons.

He said his greatest concern was the conflict “spiralling out of control because of a failure of American leadership”, with violence spreading into a wider conflict of Sunni versus Shia and even the US versus Russia.

Russian media response

State-controlled Channel One:

“One cannot but notice the unusual, not to say strange, format of the statement. First, it was a telephone conference. Second, Mr [Ben] Rhodes is a deputy national security adviser for strategic communications for the US president; he is of course across the subject, but his rank is rather low for such strong statements.”

Rossiya 1 TV:

“One is instantly reminded of the well-known story with the vial with crushed chalk that Colin Powell presented as evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq. It is also interesting that the White House’s statement came after Syrian rebels began suffering one defeat after another.”

In an interview with the BBC’s Newshour programme on Friday, Gen Idris said the supply of weapons would help the rebels defeat the Assad regime and defend civilians.

“We are in most need for anti tank missiles and anti-aircraft missiles and in addition to all of that we need a huge amount of weapons and ammunition to stop the offensive of the regime,” he added.

‘Not convincing’
The US intelligence community believes the Assad regime had used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the past year, said Mr Rhodes, adding that he estimated as many as 150 people had died in the attacks.

Washington’s “clear” statement was welcomed by Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who urged Syria to let the UN “investigate all reports of chemical weapons use”.

The US announcement is one the Syrian opposition has been pushing and praying for for months, says the BBC’s Jim Muir in Beirut.

It seems clear Mr Obama has finally been persuaded, as Britain and France have argued, that the battlefield cannot be allowed to tilt strongly in the regime’s favour, as is currently happening, says our correspondent.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK agreed with Washington’s assessment and said an urgent response to the Syria crisis would be discussed at the G8 summit of economic powers in Northern Ireland next week.

Moscow said Washington’s supposed evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria did “not look convincing”.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman told the BBC he remained against “any further militarisation” of the conflict in Syria, saying the people there needed peace, not more weapons.

The support of the West’s regional allies, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, had helped the rebels in the days after the uprising became militarised.

But the tide turned after the Assad regime turned to Moscow and Tehran for help. Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon have also been involved in the government’s counter-offensive.


  • theunhivedmind

    Once again we see this demented crazy warmongering terrorist John McCain threatening a sovereign state using lies and propaganda for his own dirty gains. Its about time Vladimir Putin horizontalized this terrorist using his FSB to save mankind from the coming World War 3 being engineered by the puddled psychopath in Washington D.C. McCain was desperate to get into Syria before the Iranian election which is happening today. McCain is absolutely screwing because Vladimir Putin is a real leader and has scuppered McCain’s plans all along on the Syria issue. Senator John McCain is far more dangerous than even George W. Bush and always has been.

    Please Vladimir arm up sovereign Syria to the teeth with Sunburns, S-300 and anything else you can and put these terrorists in their place. The war on terror is a complete farce created by the Senior Executive Service hierarchy in Chicago with the Marcy family. Al-Qaeda was created by the SES through the U.S. Small Business Administrations 8(a) program by Jesuit-trained Kristine Marcy. The U.S. use Al-Qaeda against sovereign nations whilst using Al-Qaeda propaganda against the West to force supposed security over liberties. Amazing the double-think, double-speak and double-do going on.

    Wake up! Remove John McCain from office immediately, he is mentally unstable and a psychopath after being left in a Vietnamese pit as a prisoner-of-war for seven years. How can anyone with this mentality be allowed to control such a deadly armed force? He is one of the crazies many fear in the United States. Viva-la-Syria and I hope Assad and Putin continue to outsmart John McCain and Lindsey Graham which will not be hard because John McCain is a demented redneck. If you want to know who is behind the Gitmo prison camp staying open then you need to again look at this demented terrorist.

    -= The Unhived Mind

    Ron Paul slams demented terrorist John McCain and his visit to his Al-Qaeda in Syria

    Demented warmonger Terrorist John McCain illegaly sneaks into Syria to visit his Al-Qaeda Germ Rebel Terrorists


    Terrorist John McCain met the infamous kidnapper in Syria

  • theunhivedmind

    Putin dubs McCain ‘nuts’, says US drones killed Gaddafi

    Vladimir Putin has lashed out at John McCain over his threats that the PM may face same fate as the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The Russian premier speculated that the US senator has been traumatized by his POW experience.

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  • theunhivedmind

    Notice the demented terrorists double-speak as he then goes on to call for more than just weapons support, he goes on to call for a no-fly zone, bombing of runways and neutralization of Syrian air defense systems which to me is military intervention the same as what we saw in Libya. Remove him from office, pray for his death by the hands of God or Vladimir Putin’s FSB intelligence. John McCain is one of the world’s leading terrorists.

    watch the BBC video provided at the link below, do not just read the article below

    -= The Unhived Mind

    Syria: US troops should not be sent, says John McCain

    14 June 2013 Last updated at 01:54 Help

    The United States has accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, against its opponents.

    A White House statement said the latest intelligence suggested up to 150 people had been killed in a small number of chemical attacks.

    US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes official said a red line had been crossed, and President Obama had decided to provide more military support to the rebels.

    Senators John McCain and his fellow Republican Lindsey Graham have urged President Obama to respond by sharply increasing support for the Syrian opposition but stop short of sending US troops.

  • theunhivedmind

    Sen. John McCain Sneaked into Syria To Meet With Kidnappers(Rebels)!

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