US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Sunday that the US has proof sarin nerve gas was used in Syria. The announcement comes at the Obama administration works to build a case for Congress justifying a military strike in Syria.
Kerry made his announcement in a series of television interviews on Sunday, the day after President Obama announced he will go through Congress before launching a military strike.
The decision will put any strike on hold for at least nine days. Kerry spoke about the evidence on CNN’s State of the Union program, saying:
“Blood and hair samples that have come to us through an appropriate chain of custody from east Damascus from first responders — it has tested positive for signatures of sarin.”
Sarin, also called GB, is a colorless, odorless liquid. When it is turned into a gas, it can be incredibly dangerous, as it will quickly penetrate a person’s skin. Even at low concentrations, it is highly fatal and takes just one minute to do its work.
Reuters notes that the US Secretary of State added on Sunday, “This is squarely now in the hands of Congress.” He added he has confidence “they will do what is right because they understand the stakes.”
US military strikes appeared imminent in the lead up to Obama’s announcement on Saturday. While some praised his decision to ask Congress to debate the issue, his decision also received criticism from people on both sides of the situation.
The Syrian National Coalition criticized President Obama, saying, “We don’t understand how you can promise to help those who are being slaughtered every day in the hundreds, giving them false hope, then change your mind and say let’s wait and see.”
This isn’t the first time sarin gas has reportedly been used in the Syrian civil war. The United States stated in April that it had evidence the gas was used on a small scale. A UN official added in May that there were suspicions rebel forces also used the deadly nerve agent
While Kerry stated sarin nerve gas was used in Syria, it will ultimately be up to Congress to decide if the United States retaliates with military action;
[Image via ShutterStock]