Report Claims Syrian Troops Used Chemical Weapons Without Assad’s Approval

German surveillance suggests chemical attack unauthorized, Assad also tells PBS's Charlie Rose that he did not gas his own people, as White House continues to press claim

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Carlo Allegri / Reuters

A news ticker refers to the situation in Syria as a couple look at a map in Times Square New York, September 8, 2013.

Government forces in Syria may have launched the chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed more than a thousand civilians last month before receiving a go-ahead from President Bashar Assad.

According to an article published on Sunday in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, a German spy ship intercepted repeated communications from forces loyal to Assad asking for permission to use chemical weapons; however, their requests were consistently denied.

This latest report comes as the Oval Office unleashed an all-out public relations offensive over the weekend in order to convince a deeply skeptical Congress to approve a resolution that would allow for the use of military strikes to both punish and degrade the capabilities of Assad’s forces after they allegedly deployed chemical weapons against civilians in the suburbs of Damascus on Aug. 21.

(More: Senate Panel Backs Syria Bombing, Changing War Momentum)

On Sunday, President Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough conceded that the White House did not have “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” connecting Assad to the use of chemical weapons. He appeared to be contradicted on Monday by Secretary of State John Kerry, who insisted that the evidence against Assad was compelling according to an AP report.

With legislators set to kick off a new Congressional session today, Obama is scheduled to participate in several interviews with major news networks before speaking directly to the American people in a televised national address on Tuesday night.

Assad has also been doing some PR of his own. During an interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose in Damascus last week, he denied ordering the assault and called on the Obama administration to produce solid evidence proving his government was behind the attack.

During the interview, the embattled Syrian leader refused to confirm or deny if his government possessed stockpiles of chemical weapons and warned the American public against supporting another war in the Middle East, reported Rose who spoke with CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday.

The interview airs on PBS Monday night.

Earlier on Monday, Beijing called on Washington to consult with the U.N. Security Council and reach a consensus concerning the crisis in Syria, warning the Obama administration to “think thrice” before launching a unilateral attack against Assad. President Obama has stated that he is prepared to act without the council’s blessing after China and Russia repeatedly blocked resolutions during the past two years that would have levied punishments against the Assad regime.

More: Pope Francis Leads Global Prayer Vigil for Syria

175 comments
David Mario M. Ratcliff
David Mario M. Ratcliff

Assad: Tyrannical secular dictator. FSA: Islamic/sharia Muslim Jihadist fascist. Two evils. One Choice. FK the FSA!

MariaDubin
MariaDubin

I think we'd be cowards if we just stood by and let the people responsible for this get away with it. Too many innocent people are suffering. The responsible criminals deserve to be punished. We need to do something, at least something.

Torian Kennedy
Torian Kennedy

I see that you have stayed up all night preparing yourself to be an intellectual challenge. It is obvious that your self esteem has been extensively wounded by me being a Jamaican and at the same time being able to put you in you place. From your statement it is obvious that you consider Jamaicans and by extension blacks to be of an inferior status. In reality i find this to be a desperate and weak attempt to quantify your argument and to re-establish the damage done to your self esteem. However, taking into consideration that that statement is coming from someone, who with the knowledge of "theasaurus.com" is still unable to achieve an eloquent literate mode of expression, i will refrain from entering into a patriotic altercation strictly on the grounds that this is not necessarily the collective view of the people of America. Your attempts to discredit me by simply categorizing me as a black Jamaican conspiracy theorist only highlights your fallacious attempt to redirect attention from the message to the messenger, which again reflects your inability to psychologically conceive the issues much less discuss them. My interaction with white women goes to prove i'm no racist but a realist who presented opinions on objective observation.

Brian Price
Brian Price

Lol Torain trying to sound knowledgeable using thesaurus.com for every word while being from Jamaica. The "white man" in your elaborate back tracking definition is not holding anyone back, you just can't seem to accept the fact that a black man like Obama can run the USA. All you are is a black conspiracy theorist from Jamaica who's pissed off at white people because your country run by black men who are corrupt, so instead of taking accountability, you blame "the white man". Ironically, you love taking pictures with white women as for the evidence on your profile. It's propaganda, you actually believe wealthy families from the 17th century rule the world and you're preaching freedom being from a country like Jamaica.

Brooke Kilgore
Brooke Kilgore

Annnndddd the scientist worked for a company that played a major role in the Holocaust.

Brooke Kilgore
Brooke Kilgore

I find it strange that sarin, the chemical weapon being used in this civil war, was created by a German scientist. Yes, it was created back in 1938 but isn't it odd that Germany released a report claiming Assad didn't approve the chemical weapons attack? Maybe I'm reading too much into though...

Henrique Rossi
Henrique Rossi

C'mon we all know this war is about a natural gas duct. Cut the crap.

Torian Kennedy
Torian Kennedy

I just vividly explained the impossibility of ascertaining "un-falsifiable" evidence on the matter and it is the long held tradition of a true democracy that all individuals are entitled to an uncensored opinion. If you are not familiar with those rights then you should be busy enlightening yourself rather than challenging controversial issues above your head.

SilasKnudsen
SilasKnudsen

If this is the truth than why hasn't Assad turned over the military officials who used these weapons to the International Court of Inquire at the Hague? 

Richard Strong
Richard Strong

If you have no evidence of his innocence or guilt then don't bother expressing an opinion on either until you do.

Moh Meh
Moh Meh

There's no evidence link exactly to him, but he has many links.

William SP
William SP

Its good still he can talk and told his piece that to be dead being mocked like they did to libya Gadafhi

Yasser Kh
Yasser Kh

Brian .. Excuse me but you know nothing ... For hundred of years Muslims and Christians lived peacefully in Syria and we're brothers ....

bassoosie
bassoosie

@CharlesMBlow @TIME Seems like everything Assad denies/blames on others he’s actually done himself. I take denials as admissions now.

David Voros
David Voros

Why did Rose bother to talk with a sicko?

Edoardo Mauro
Edoardo Mauro

That's more than possible I think. In an highly militarized regime such as Syria the army is not just "army" but an active part of the country having an important decisional power on different questions.

RNicholsonJr
RNicholsonJr

@CharlesMBlow "His majesty can never disown the dastardly acts of his knights.To do so would acknowledge a lack of control,a great evil"

Abhishek Chaudhary
Abhishek Chaudhary

Totally fib mr. Assad. . How can you say such ?? How can america become aggresive without any evidance?? Not at all

Torian Kennedy
Torian Kennedy

How can we trust whatever intelligence package they cooked up and gave us. We are fully aware that they are experienced in falsifying intelligence and that the only genuine means by which people of the west could unquestionably verify the culpability of the Assad regime is to have first hand account of the incident, which is not possible. Thus reinforcing the statements made in my original status "I have no evidence but i honestly think Assad is innocent of these charges." I maintain my perspective.

brijshow
brijshow

@CharlesMBlow @TIME just like we have no documents that prove hitler ordered the gassing of jews, gypsies & homosexuals.

DrewTheoloneus
DrewTheoloneus

@CharlesMBlow @TIME It's very easy to vote for war when you sit far removed from it, miles away from the damage that it does simple people

Martina S. Stanek
Martina S. Stanek

I believe him no word. He is completely responsible for the situation in his country.... And now, he is just afraid . He feels its the beginnig of his end .... No more dictators, people want freedom !

Elaine N Lala
Elaine N Lala

Bush spent 6 trillion dollars in two illegal wars and Saddam didnt have WMD an Army and never attacked the US Bush lied about WMD now we have facts and against facts there are not arguments. Assad is a monster and his era is over "This is not Iraq or Afghanistan. This is not Libya," he told CNN’s chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley. "This is not an extended air campaign. This is something that's targeted, limited and effective The missiles found at gouta and being analyzed by weapons inspectors have been indentified by chemical and conventional weapons experts as a modified iranian falaq 2. The Syrian rebels do not have the missile delivery systems to launch the falaq 2. onl

Elaine N Lala
Elaine N Lala

The Holy Father is a giant of our time a man of God I support his efforts for peace but we know that Bush spent 6 trillion dollars in two illegal wars and Saddam didnt have WMD an Army and never attacked the US Bush lied about WMD now we have facts and against facts there are not arguments. Assad is a monster and his era is over "This is not Iraq or Afghanistan. This is not Libya," he told CNN’s chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley. "This is not an extended air campaign. This is something that's targeted, limited and effective The missiles found at gouta and being analyzed by weapons inspectors have been indentified by chemical and conventional weapons experts as a modified iranian falaq 2. The Syrian rebels do not have the missile delivery systems to launch the falaq 2. onl

Deborah Dixon
Deborah Dixon

Assad should just step down. Avoid further bloodshed. Russia should move their company to a more stable environment, and every outside country stop supplying weapons for this civil war.

Abraham Yeshuratnam
Abraham Yeshuratnam

Assad's father killed thousands without showing an iota of regret. Now Assad has invented an excuse to avoid American azttack. But who will believe him?

Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams

I understand Americans are war weary....but who do you believe Assad & Putin or Pres Obama?

EileenFleming
EileenFleming

"All governments lie and nothing they say should be believed."-Izzy Stone

Mr. President Nuclear Free World Nobel PEACE Laureate Obama should be leading the way to find out EXACTLY WHO set off chemical weapons of destruction before unleashing more and responding under international law.

Would help if he also would address the urgent humanitarian crisis--and NOT seek to cause more and inflame anti-American sentiment.

LifeOfCray
LifeOfCray

Are you stupid or just ignorant?

andbary
andbary

@Ruth11239551 @HalaGorani @TIMEWorldWhere did Kerry come up with the figure of 1,429 dead civilians – with 426 confirmed children? ---

Numbers in another problem.

Find as many children (and if you have children, you have to be old men and women) in a ruined suburb, you can, but only if you bring them there on purpose!


If you think about it, it becomes very scary!

andbary
andbary

@Abraham Yeshuratnam

I have already answered.

I ask again ...

Do you believe that in Syria there is no Al Qaeda terrorists?