The Washington Post reports: Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Sunday that fresh laboratory tests show that Sarin nerve gas was used in an Aug. 21 attack in Syria that killed more than 1,400 people, the first time that U.S. officials have pinpointed what kind of chemical weapon was used.
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kerry said blood and hair samples from emergency workers in east Damascus had tested positive for Sarin, a highly toxic nerve agent. He said that U.S. officials learned of the lab results in the past 24 hours, citing the evidence as yet another reason for Congress to pass President Obama’s request to authorize the use of military force against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“So this case is building and this case will build,” Kerry said, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by NBC. “I don’t believe that my former colleagues in the United States Senate and the House will turn their backs on all of our interests, on the credibility of our country, on the norm with respect to the enforcement of the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons.”
In an unclassified intelligence assessment released Thursday, U.S. officials had said they believed that the Syrian government had used “a nerve agent” in the Aug. 21 attack in the Damascus suburbs. But the intelligence report did not specify what kind, and questions have remained about precisely what chemical weapons may have been involved and who ordered their use. Syria is believed to have multiple nerve agents and poison gases in its chemical weapons stockpile.
The new disclosure from Kerry came a day after Obama put on hold a plan to attack Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, arguing that the United States had a moral responsibility to respond forcefully but would not do so until Congress has a chance to vote on the use of military force. [Continue reading…]