Chuck Hagel. Image credit: nytimes.com

US Suspects Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria Civil War

US Suspects Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria Civil War

The White House said Thursday it believes the Syrian government had used chemical arms in its civil war, an act formerly declared a “red line” by President Obama.

The US has warned the use of chemical agents would provoke US intervention in the country’s civil war.

US intelligence reports claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have used chemical weapons against opposition troops.

In a letter from the White House to lawmakers, US intelligence groups have assessed “with varying degrees of confidence” that the Syrian government have used the chemical agent sarin on small-scale at least twice in the two-year dispute.

However, the letter also stated the White House will not settle for intelligence reports and assessments alone. They need credible evidence to support their decision-making.

According to US National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden, the White House still cannot verify how the chemical exposure happened.

Sarin is a chemical nerve agent that can cause convulsions and respiratory failure. Those who are not treated immediately can have permanent neurological damage. Direct ingestion of a lethal dose of sarin can lead to death.

Sources: aljazeera.com, nytimes.com, bbc.co.uk