The Syrian government on Friday called recent White House claims about the use of chemical weapons in Syria “a statement full of lies based on fabricated information.”
Washington said Thursday that it now believes with “high confidence” that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons many times during the two-year civil war, and vowed to boost US aid to the armed opposition fighting to remove President Bashar Assad from power.
“Pursuant to impudent practices that the United States has previously resorted to in order to justify its policies, the White House issued a statement full of lies on chemical weapons use in Syria and based on fabricated information,” official Syrian news agency SANA said, citing a Syrian Foreign Ministry source.
“While seeking banal means to justify the US President Barack Obama’s decision to arm the Syrian opposition, the United States is practicing a flagrant double-standard policy in dealing with terrorism,” the source said.
The official also said the US decision to supply the rebels with arms reflected Washington’s “direct involvement in the shedding of the Syrian people’s blood.”
Russia said earlier on Friday that the evidence presented by Washington was “unconvincing” and warned that providing military assistance to Syrian rebels could hamper efforts to convene a peace conference on Syria that Russia and the United States proposed jointly on May 7.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said that arming either side in the Syria conflict “would not be helpful” after the United States sent a letter to the United Nations on Friday presenting its evidence on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
“The military path points directly towards the further disintegration of the country, destabilization of the region and inflammation of religious and communal tensions,” Ban told reporters in New York.
According to recent UN data, the number of documented deaths resulting from the conflict in Syria between March 2011 and the end of April 2013 reached almost 93,000.