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Obama reacts to Syria chemical crisis
02:12 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: Germany and Britain agree "Syria cannot continue unpunished"

President Barack Obama says no decision has been made on Syria strike

Obama tells PBS that Syria carried out chemical attacks

Syria says rebels obtained materials for chemical weapons from other countries

Damascus, Syria CNN  — 

The United States has concluded Syria carried out chemical weapons attacks against its people, President Barack Obama said Wednesday, a claim that comes amid a looming diplomatic showdown over whether to strike against Bashar al-Assad’s military.

Obama’s declaration to “PBS NewsHour” came at the end of a day that saw Russia and China walk out of a U.N. Security Council meeting as word surfaced Britain planned to pursue a resolution to authorize the use of force against Syria, even as United Nations weapons inspectors were in Syria assessing whether chemical weapons have been used.

“We do not believe that, given the delivery systems, using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out these attacks. We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out,” Obama told “NewsHour.”

“And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences,” the president added.

Obama said that he has “not made a decision” about whether to conduct a military strike in Syria.

Allegations of a chemical weapons attack carried out by al-Assad’s forces in a Damascus suburb last week triggered the international machinations, which have been growing as body counts on both sides in the more-than-2-year-old civil war have increased.

Those who claimed to have survived the alleged chemical weapons attack described a horrific scene in the town of Zamalka.

“After the chemicals, they woke us up and told us to put masks on,” a 6-year-old boy said, describing the alleged attack.

“I told my dad I can’t breathe. My father then fainted and I fainted right after that, but we were found and taken to the emergency room.”

CNN obtained video of the boy and others who made the claims to a journalist in the area.

Al-Assad’s government has blamed rebels for carrying out the attack, a claim that Obama told PBS was impossible.

“We have looked at all the evidence, and we do not believe the opposition possessed … chemical weapons of that sort,” he said. “We do not believe that, given the delivery systems, using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out these attacks.”