Chemical weapons allegation in Syria 'of grave concern': Obama
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia - Agence France-Presse
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about college financial aid at Henninger High School in Syracuse, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013. AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinUS President Barack Obama said in an interview broadcast Aug.23 that new allegations of chemical weapons use by Syrian forces were of "grave concern".
In an interview with CNN he said the allegations this week by opposition forces were more serious than previous charges against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
"We are right now gathering information about this particular event, but I can say that unlike some of the evidence we were trying to get earlier that led to a UN investigator going into Syria, what we've seen indicates clearly this is a big event, of grave concern," the president said.
Obama stopped short of saying point blank the United States believes such weapons were used -- an act that in theory would cross what he has called a "red line".
Britain believes Syria regime behind chemical attack: Hague
The British government believes the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for an alleged chemical weapons attack this week, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Friday.
Hague called for UN experts to be granted immediate access to the site near Damascus to investigate claims that a horrific gas attack on Wednesday left hundreds of people dead.
Evidence of the attack was deteriorating every day, he warned.
"We do believe this is a chemical attack by the Assad regime on a large scale, but we would like the United Nations to be able to assess that," Hague said in a televised statement.
He dismissed suggestions that the attack could have been faked by rebels fighting against Assad's regime.
"I think the chances of that are vanishingly small," he said.
"The only possible explanation of what we've been able to see is that it was a chemical attack. Clearly many, many hundreds of people have been killed. Some of the estimates are well over a thousand".