Fact check: Obama's Syria case still lacks proof

2013-09-10T19:00:00Z 2013-09-10T19:03:52Z Fact check: Obama's Syria case still lacks proofThe Associated Press The Associated Press
September 10, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama voiced his conviction Tuesday night that Syrian President Bashar Assad was to blame for deadly chemical attacks against civilians, but again he offered no proof.

A look at his remarks to the nation, seeking support for a military strike against Syria, and how they compare with the facts as publicly known:

OBAMA: "We know the Assad regime was responsible.... The facts cannot be denied."

THE FACTS: The Obama administration has not laid out proof Assad was behind the attack.

The administration has cited satellite imagery and communications intercepts, backed by social media and intelligence reports from sources in Syria, as the basis for blaming the Assad government. But the only evidence the administration has made public is a collection of videos it has verified of the victims. The videos do not demonstrate who launched the attacks.

Administration officials have not shared the satellite imagery they say shows rockets and artillery fire leaving government-held areas and landing in 12 rebel-held neighborhoods outside Damascus where chemical attacks were reported. Nor have they shared transcripts of the Syrian officials allegedly warning units to ready gas masks or discussing how to handle U.N. investigators after it happened.

The White House has declined to explain where it came up with the figure of at least 1,429 dead, including 400 children — a figure far higher than estimates by nongovernmental agencies such as the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has counted only victims identified by name, with a current total of 502. In his remarks, Obama more generally accused Assad's forces of gassing to death "over 1,000 people, including hundreds of children."

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AP Intelligence Writer Kimberly Dozier contributed to this report.

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