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French Intel: Syrian Regime Led Chemical Attack

Updated: Monday, September 2 2013, 02:13 PM EDT

PARIS (AP) - A French intelligence estimate alleges that the Syrian regime launched an attack Aug. 21 involving "massive use of chemical agents" and could carry out other strikes of a similar nature in the future.

The government published a 9-page synopsis Monday about Syria's chemical weapons program that found that at least 281 deaths could be attributed to the attack in areas outside Damascus. The analysis based that count in part from dozens of videos culled by French intelligence services.

President Francois Hollande has backed a call from President Barack Obama for a military strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad's government in retaliation for the attack.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault hosted lawmakers, his defense and foreign ministers, and intelligence and security officials Monday to discuss Syria.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

[Photo: French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, right, reacts as he arrives at the French Prime Minister in Paris, Monday Sept. 2, 2013. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will meet with the leaders of Parliament's defense and foreign affairs committees. The prime minister's office said Ayrault will give the lawmakers an update on Syria and show them a declassified report on Syria's chemical weapons to back up France's claim that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)]

French Intel: Syrian Regime Led Chemical Attack


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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.


 
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