Syrian President Bashar Assad has repeatedly turned down requests from his military officers for permission to use chemical weapons, according to communications intercepted by German intelligence.
As reported by the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, the head of the German Foreign Intelligence agency, Gerhard Schindler, told a group of Germany lawmakers last week that the communications had convinced intelligence officials that Assad did not order or approve a gas attack on Aug. 21 that killed hundreds near Damascus.
The communications were intercepted by the German intelligence ship Oker off the Syrian coast, Bild reported.
The Obama administration has blamed the attack on Assad, while Russia has issued a report implicating rebel fighters.
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