Syria Opposition Leader Claims 1,300 People Killed In Chemical Attack By Assad Forces

 @David_Kashi
on August 21 2013 10:00 AM
  • Syria gas 21Aug2013 multiple 2
    A man holds the body of a dead child among bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013. Syrian activists said at least 213 people, including women and children, were killed on Wednesday in a nerve gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad's forces on rebel-held districts of the Ghouta region east of Damascus. Reuters
  • Syria 21Aug2013 gas 2
    A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen August 21, 2013. Syrian activists accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of launching a gas attack that killed nearly 500 people on Wednesday, in what would, if confirmed, be by far the worst reported use of chemical arms in the two-year-old civil war. Reuters
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(Note: The authenticity of this video could not be independently verified.)

In response to reports by Syrian opposition leaders Wednesday, that chemical weapons were used in the embattled country for the second time this year by the Syrian army killing 1,300 people, the U.S. has proved again that it has done very little to set up its red line, says an expert.

“In two years, beyond a speech we have not given a single negative tool except for some financial sanctions to help convince [President of Syria Bashar] Assad that he is not going to achieve his goals,” Barry Pavel, the vice president of the Atlantic Council, a Washington based think tank, told the International Business Times.

President Barak Obama has set red lines in the past but Pavel says that the statements had no teeth to them.

In March Obama said, “we will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, or the transfer of those weapons to terrorists.”

This past May at a joint press conference with Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president said he reserves the right to take additional steps such as diplomatic or military action on Assad for his use of unconventional weapons.

“Apart from chemical weapons, we know that tens of thousands of people are being killed with artillery and mortars and that the humanitarian crisis and the slaughter that is taking place by itself is sufficient to prompt strong international action,” Obama said.

Pavel however said the U.S. has done nothing to deter Assad, adding that the U.S. needs to take more action by implementing and enforcing a no-fly-zone as well as arming and training rebel forces that do not have connections with Islamists.

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