Kerry on Assad: The Evidence Speaks for Itself

September 8, 2013  

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed on Sunday the claims by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad that there is no evidence he used chemical weapons against his own people.

Asked by reporters to comment on Assad’s denial in a television interview, Kerry said “the evidence speaks for itself.”

Kerry made the remark in response to a question as he began a meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the resumption of Israeli-PA peace talks.

Earlier on Sunday, excerpts were released of an exclusive interview Assad gave Charlie Rose of PBS. In the interview, which will air Monday, Assad was quoted as having said, “There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people.”

He refused to confirm or deny that he had chemical weapons but said if he did, they were under “centralized control.”

A report on Sunday said that German intelligence had determined that Syrian troops may have used chemical weapons in a deadly attack last month without the permission or knowledge of Assad.

According to the report, German intelligence had intercepted numerous messages from Syrian field commanders to the Presidential Palace, asking for permission to deploy chemical weapons against rebels. Each time, permission was denied – leading intelligence officials to conclude that the weapons may have been used by “rogue” units who did not receive permission from Assad.

Another intelligence report prepared by a European country has found that Assad has handed control of missile installations over to foreign fighters, reportedly Hezbollah and Iranian units.

Those two groups would be in charge of leading a counter-attack if the United States or other Western nations attack in Syria in response to recent chemical weapons use within the country.

CNN on the weekend aired footage from 13 short films shown by representatives of U.S. President Obama to the American Senate, which apparently show the aftermath of chemical weapons attacks by the Assad regime against civilians.

The videos were shown to the Senate as part of the administration’s bid to gain Congressional support for military intervention in Syria.

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