US intelligence report stops short of confirmation Assad responsible for chemical attack

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United States Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the US intelligence community has concluded that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for killing more than 1,000 people with chemical gas last week near Damascus.

In a statement released in tandem with Kerry’s remarks from the State Department headquarters in Washington, DC Friday afternoon, the US government says that they assess “with high confidence” that the government of Pres. Assad carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013.

According to the remarks made by Sec. Kerry, the assault last week caused the deaths of at least 1,429 Syrians, including no fewer than 426 children.

But despite days of research and an international investigation, the US says they cannot declare with 100 percent certainty at this time that Assad’s regime was responsible.

“Our high confidence assessment is the strongest position that the US Intelligence Community can take short of confirmation,” the report reads in part. “We will continue to seek additional information to close gaps in our understanding of what took place.”

Nevertheless, speaking Friday afternoon, Kerry said, “We know that the Syrian regime’s elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons. We know that these were specific instructions. We know where the rockets were launched from and at what time. We know where they landed and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition controlled or contested neighborhood.”

 

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