American intelligence officials may be moving closer to the conclusion that Syria has used small amounts of chemical weapons in the country's civil war.
Four senior U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal
the intelligence community has "increasing suspicions" of such use, thanks to descriptions from witnesses and preliminary testing of samples from Syria.
A senior United Nations official also told the paper there is "hard evidence" possessed by Britain and France that chemical weapons have been used. The United Nations and United States are reviewing that evidence.
"We are nearly convinced 100 percent that in some examples, chemical weapons have been used in a very tactical way," the U.N. diplomat told the Journal.
But U.S. intelligence officials haven’t reached a consensus yet. Officials are concerned that rebels may have tampered with the samples to create the belief of chemical weapons use and thus entice western nations to enter the civil war. In addition, the officials say the presence of chemical compounds doesn't necessarily mean Syria used them in an attack.
Firm evidence of chemical-weapons use by Syria could push the United States into the fray, because President Barack Obama has said such action would cross a "red line." But he hasn’t specified what he would do if the line is crossed.
Syria may be deploying small amounts of chemical weapons to test the West’s reactions, European officials also told the Journal.
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