Syria possesses one of the world’s largest chemical weapon arsenals.
President Barack Obama had warned last August that chemical weapons use would be a “red line” for the US. Syrian rebels, desperate for US intervention, claimed in March that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons in Aleppo.
Damascus blamed the rebels. One UN human rights team in May said the evidence pointed to rebel use of the banned weapons. Sceptics note the new rebel claim comes just three days after a UN team arrived to investigate the Aleppo attack.
The chemical weapons propaganda war may be irrelevant. Obama seems determined to avoid intervention, no matter what happens inside Syria. A poll showed that only 43 % of Americans supported intervention even if the chemical weapons charge was proven true.