Originally published on Sun April 28, 2013 7:53 am
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday tried to tone down Israeli claims that the Syrian government has been using chemical weapons.
Chemical weapons use is important, because the United Staes has repeatedly said their use marks a "red line" in the conflict. President Obama and the United Nations have warned President Bashar Assad not to use them.
"'Suspicions are one thing, evidence is another,' Hagel said in Cairo, his latest stop in a weeklong Mideast swing. 'I think we have to be very careful here before we draw any conclusions based on real intelligence.'
"Hagel stressed that he wasn't questioning the Israeli assessment, which came in a speech Tuesday by Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, Israel's top military intelligence analyst. Brun said the findings were based on reports that victims of the attacks in Aleppo and Damascus, Syria's largest cities, had constricted pupils and were foaming at the mouth."
As Greg noted yesterday, the United States has said it was investigating chemical weapons use, but they have not "accused Syria of using chemical weapons."