The US denied a report on Tuesday night which claimed that the State Department
identified a use of chemical weapons in Syria last month.
The denial was
accompanied by a warning that if the Assad regime did use chemical 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
According to the report, published by American journalist Josh
Rogin in The Cable blog, which is hosted by the Foreign Policy website, “a
secret State Department cable has concluded that the Syrian military likely used
chemical weapons against its own people in a deadly attack last
Following the December 23 attack in Homs, Strategic Affairs
The report added that “United States diplomats in Turkey
conducted a previously undisclosed, intensive investigation” into the claims of
a chemical weapons attack in Homs, and came up with a “compelling case” that a
deadly form of poison gas had been used.
Following a December 23 attack
by Syrian forces in Homs, rebels released footage of patients they said had
suffered injuries, including severe respiratory problems caused by mysterious
Soon afterward, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon
responded by saying that that the rebel claims lacked evidence.
things stand now, we do not have any confirmation or proof that [chemical
weapons] have already been used, but we are definitely following events with
concern,” he said at the time.
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.
Earlier this month,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated his concern over Syrian chemical
weapons, stating they not only pose a threat to the civilians in Syria, and to
Israel, but to the entire region.
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
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report