U.S. Senate panel releases alleged videos of Syria chemical attack
U.S. Senate panel Saturday released 13 videos showing the victims of the alleged chemical attack near Damascus on Aug. 21, although there is no independent verification of the videos' authenticity, Xinhua reported.
The videos, posted by the Senate Intelligence Committee on its website, show graphic images of adults and children who were convulsing and foaming despite no blood and obvious wounds on their bodies, signs of suffering from a chemical attack.
The videos were first played for the members of the committee Thursday at the request of its chairwoman Dianne Feinstein.
The panel said that the videos were compiled by the U.S. Open Source Center from footage taken on Aug. 21 in the suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus.
"All of the videos were posted on YouTube by pro-Syrian opposition users," the committee said in a statement. "With one exception, all 13 videos were posted by a pro-opposition Internet news channel that consistently posts user-created videos concerning the Syrian conflict."
Major U.S. TV news networks, including the CNN, broadcast the videos on Saturday though they admitted that they could not independently verify the authenticity of these videos.
The Obama administration claims that the Syrian government perpetrated the sarin gas attack on Aug. 21, which the U.S. claims killed 1,429 people including 426 children.
It said the Syrian government will be held accountable for violating the international norm of banning the use of weapons of mass destruction, if U.S. Congress gives him the authorization of use of force.
The videos were released to the public at a time when President Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress are gearing up the campaign to swing the public opinion, which is largely against U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict.
Obama will conduct a series of interviews with six major U.S. TV networks, which will air them on Monday night, ahead of his scheduled televised speech from the White House Tuesday to appeal to the public for support to his plan to launch a limited military strike against Syria.
The Democrat-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Wednesday a resolution on authorizing limited U.S.military action against Syria, thanks to the support of several hawks from the Republican Party. The full house of the Senate is to hold a heated debate and a vote on the resolution in the week of Sept. 9 after it returns from the summer break.
The real test for Obama will be in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, where many Republican lawmakers have expressed opposition to his Syria plan despite the rare calls for support to Obama from Republican Speaker John Boehner and majority leader Eric Cantor.
Public opinion polls have repeatedly shown that most Americans are opposed to a military strike on Syria, while many lawmakers have received calls that were overwhelmingly against U.S. intervention in the civil war in the war-torn country.