The Obama administration is refuting claims by Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime that U.S.- backed Syrian “rebels” have used weapons of mass destruction in the form of chemical weapons.
Tuesday, White House officials claimed that they had seen no evidence of either side having used chemical weapons.
While the nature of an attack that reportedly killed 25 people and wounded 86 more, some critically, in the Khan al-Assad village of northern Aleppo is unclear, the White House acted quick to quell speculation. The Obama administration is funding the so-called rebels as its chosen ally in the Syrian civil war.
As in Egypt, where “rebels” turned out to be the Muslim Brotherhood, an anti-Western group that now has a heavy hand in governing that country, the U.S. is unsure how U.S. funding is being spent or exactly who is in charge of Syrian rebels.
However the official reminded that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is also reporting no independent information of chemical weapons use. The official isn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Syria's state-run news agency has reported the deaths and suspicions that the rebels used chemical weapons taken from overrun military stockpiles.
Meanwhile, White House spokesman Jay Carney, despite expressing skepticism, would not go so far as to say chemical weapons had not been used by rebels. The Obama spokesman said the U.S. is looking carefully at all allegations, but that the Obama administration is "deeply skeptical" of any claims emanating from Assad's regime. He said President Barack Obama believes any chemical weapons use would be unacceptable.
"This is an issue that has been made very clear by the president to be of great to concern to us," Carney said, adding that if the Syrian regime does use such weapons, "there will be consequences."
Carney did not elaborate on what he meant by “consequences.” Syria is believed to have one of the world's largest arsenals of chemical weapons and Washington has warned Syria’s government not to use them.
Now, the administration is clamoring to confirm that Syrian rebels funded by Washington aren’t the ones who used chemical weapons against unarmed citizens, including children in a Syrian hospital who were shown on state-run television.