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Saturday May 23rd, 2015 3:24AM

US: 'High confidence' of Syria chemical weapons use; Kerry weighs in

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration says it has "high confidence" that Syria's government carried out a chemical weapons attack last week outside Damascus, the capital - killing 1,429 people.

The U.S. chemical weapons assessment says Syrian President Bashar Assad's government used an unidentified nerve agent in the attack. The report cites human and satellite intelligence that it says backs up publicly available videos and other evidence.

The unclassified report says at least 426 children died.

The report says the "high confidence" assessment is the strongest position that U.S. intelligence agencies can take short of confirmation.

It dismisses the Assad government's contention that rebels were responsible.

The U.S. says additional intelligence remains classified but is being provided to allies and Congress.

KERRY WEIGHS IN

Secretary of State John Kerry says the United Nations cannot tell the world anything about a chemical weapons attack the U.S. doesn't already know and hasn't already made public.

He says President Barack Obama will ensure the U.S. makes decisions on its own timeline, based on its own values and interests.

Kerry says U.N. investigators probing a chemical weapons attack are limited by a mandate to determine if an attack took place. He says they won't say who is responsible.

Obama has been seeking international support for a potential military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But the U.N. Security Council has not backed a strike.

Kerry says the U.N. cannot galvanize the world to act the way it should.

(Please check back for updates to this developing story.)
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