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Chemical weapons in Syria would be "game changer:" Obama

 President Barack Obama pauses during his joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at the prim...

US Obama Mideast Israel

President Barack Obama pauses during his joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at the prim...

On the first day of his first trip to Israel, U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday that if proof is found that the Syrian military had used chemical weapons, it would be a “game changer” in U.S. involvement in the two-year-old conflict that has killed more than 70,000 people.

“Once we establish the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer,” Obama said at a news conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

Again and again during his visit, Obama signaled that the United States and Israel were partners on a broad range of issues, reinforcing their historic alliance and America’s stated commitment to protect Israeli security.

U.S. officials reiterated that they did not have independent evidence that chemical weapons had been used. Obama, while vocal in his opposition to the government of President Bashar Assad of Syria, has been reluctant to involve U.S. forces in support of the opposition.

Two senior ministers in Israel’s new Cabinet said publicly Wednesday that chemical weapons had been used, and several government officials said in interviews that Israel had credible evidence of an attack. The ministers, Tzipi Livni and Yuval Steinetz, were among those who met with Obama here on the first day of his trip.

In Washington, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert S. Ford, testified before Congress that the United States still did not have proof that the weapons had been used, but added, “We take these reports and these possibilities very seriously.”


Updated : 2021-07-30 14:12 GMT+08:00