NATO Secretary General Rasmussen condemns alleged Syrian chemical attacks

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen released a statement on Wednesday strongly condemning alleged chemical weapon attacks in Syria that resulted in a significant loss of life.

Rasmussen released the statement after the North Atlantic Council discussed the situation in Syria and the horrific alleged use of chemical weapons near Damascus on August 21. He said the allies of NATO expressed full support for the ongoing chemical weapons investigation and deplored that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad failed to provide immediate and secure access to the sites of the attacks.

Rasmussen said it was likely that Assad's regime was responsible for the attacks.

"The Syrian regime maintains custody of stockpiles of chemical weapons," Rasmussen said. "Information available from a wide variety of sources points to the Syrian regime as responsible for the use of chemical weapons in these attacks. This is a clear breach of long-standing international norms and practice. Any use of such weapons is unacceptable and cannot go unanswered. Those responsible must be held accountable."

Rasmussen said the use of chemical weapons represented a threat to international security and peace. He said NATO will continue to keep the Syrian situation under close review while assisting Turkey and protecting the alliance's southeastern border.