Washington expresses doubts about reports of chemical weapons use in Syria
Ambassador Robert Ford, who was recalled from his Damascus Post in the beginning of 2012, testified at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing about his knowledge of incoming reports related to a possible chemical weapons release, Reuters reports.
"So far, we have no evidence which substantiates the reports that chemical weapons were used yesterday," Ford said, according to Reuters. "But I want to underline that we are looking very carefully at these reports."
European officials likewise said they could not confirm the back-to-back accusations made by both the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and their rebel opponents that chemical weapons were used at a village near the city of Aleppo, Reuters reports.
The White House and U.S. State Department have expressed their doubts over the legitimacy of the reports made by the Syrian government.
"We've seen reports from the Assad regime alleging that the opposition has been responsible for use," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, DefenseTech.org reports. "Let me just say that we have no reason to believe these allegations represent anything more than the regime's continued attempts to discredit the legitimate opposition and distract from its own atrocities committed against the Syrian people."