Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Washington: Categorically blaming the Syrian regime for the chemical weapons attack, US Vice President Joe Biden said that Assad regime had clearly violated the international norms by doing so.
Addressing American Legion 95th National Convention in Houston yesterday, Biden asserted that it was Syrian regime responsible for deaths of innocent people in August 21 chemical attack.
"No one doubts that innocent men, women and children have been the victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria... And there is no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: the Syrian regime,” said Biden.
In the most direct and harsh critique of Syrian regime, Biden said that Syrian regime had used chemical weapons many times in the past as well and bombed the attack sites to wipe out the evidences.
“Syrian regime are the only ones who have used chemical weapons multiple times in the past, have the means of delivering those weapons, have been determined to wipe out exactly the places that were attacked by chemical weapons," said Biden.
Earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry too had slammed Syria regime but Kerry stopped short of directly hitting out at Assad regime.
But Biden`s comments against Syrian government have come across as the most straightforward reaction from the US so far.
"Instead of allowing UN inspectors immediate access, the (Syrian) government has repeatedly shelled the sites of the attack and blocked the investigation for five days," Biden said.
UN probe into chemical attack in Syria was badly impacted after unidentified snipers shot at the vehicle of UN team.
Also there was an explosion at a site which was o be visited by the UN inspectors.
Syria had agreed on sunday to let UN inspectors visit the sites but the acceptance came "too late" as told by a White House official.
The suspicion over Syria allowing UN team to probe chemical attacks grew stronger as reports said that Syrian forces continuously bombarded the attack sites with mortar shelling in a bid to wipe out the remains of evidences left.
The Wednesday attack in Syria’s Ghouta that killed 355 according to Doctors Without Borders has caused huge uproar in the international community with France, Britain and Israel urging use of force but Iran and Russia have warned against the strike, fearing escalation of the violence in Middle East.
US Navy destroyers and warships have positioned themselves near Syrian coasts, hinting at the preparedness of a military strike, but Obama has earlier cautioned against a hasty attack.
But White House spokesperson Jay Carnay said on Tuesday that Syria had crossed a "red line" by large-scale use of chemical arms. Carney added that chemical attack presented a national security threat and hence it deserved a response.
But Carney said that a decision was yet to be made by he Obama administration in this regard.
Obama has in recent days discussed Syria issue with Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper, UK PM David Cameron, French PM Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Favouring action against Syria,the 22-member Arab League urged members of the Security Council to overcome their differences and agree on "deterrent" measures.
Arab Leauge is dominated by Gulf powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and provides indirect Arab cover for any potential military attack by Western powers.