Red line crossed in Syria

Red line crossed in Syria

The United States will begin sending military assistance to the rebels in Syria after its intelligence services confirmed that chemical weapons have been used in the conflict, the White House said Thursday, dpa reported.

US President Barack Obama has decided to provide direct support "that has military purposes" to the Syrian Military Council (SMC) based in part on the finding that chemical weapons have been used.

"Our intelligence community now has a high confidence assessment that chemical weapons have been used on a small scale by the Assad regime in Syria," the White House said in a statement. "The president has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has."

An assessment conducted by US intelligence organizations shows that the nerve agent sarin was used and between 100 and 150 people have died in the attacks.

While the deaths make up only a small portion of the more than 90,000 deaths in the war, "the use of chemical weapons violates international norms and crosses clear red lines that have existed within the international community for decades," the White House said.

Deputy White House spokesman Ben Rhodes told reporters in a conference call that the additional support for the rebels would be substantively different from what the US now sends. He said it would be aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the SMC on the ground.

Rhodes said he could not provide every detail about every type of support, "but suffice to say it's important to note that it is both the political and the military opposition that will be ... receiving US assistance."

The US will consult and cooperate with other countries in the region, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, Rhodes added. It also will be consulting with European allies such as Britain, France and others about the best way to support the Syrian opposition. US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said they agreed that the finding about chemical weapons must affect US policy toward Syria.

"The President's red line has been crossed," McCain and Graham said in a joint statement. "US credibility is on the line. Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions."

"A decision to provide lethal assistance, especially ammunition and heavy weapons, to opposition forces in Syria is long overdue," they said, adding they hoped Obama would take this that step.

They also urged Obama to rally an international coalition to take military actions to blunt Bashar al-Assad's ability to use airpower and ballistic missiles and to move and resupply his forces.

Fighting in the country has shown no sign of abating. At least 93,000 have been killed in the war, the UN human rights office said Thursday.

The death rate has risen to an average of 5,000 per month since July last year, according to the estimate, which includes only documented killings.

The office's previous estimate stood at 60,000, as of late November, while UN General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic had talked of 80,000 deaths in May.

The real fatality figure, however, could be much higher, as 38,000 unverified deaths have not been included in the latest estimate.

"The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels - with more than 5,000 killings documented every month since last July, including a total of just under 27,000 new killings since 1 December," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict, which started with peaceful anti-government protests in March 2011, according to the report.

"This extremely high rate of killings, month after month, reflects the drastically deteriorating pattern of the conflict over the past year," Pillay said in Geneva.

Inside Syria, meanwhile, rebels attacked the Damascus airport, reported state media and the opposition. The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels, fighting to oust al-Assad, targeted the airport with home-made rockets.

Elsewhere, rebels seized a major military base in the central province of Hama, a significant gain for opposition forces after recent losses, reported the Britain-based Observatory.

It added that regime troops were shelling the base, which is located on the outskirts of the town of Morek, near a highway linking Damascus to Aleppo.

Al-Assad's troops, backed by the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, last week retook control of the strategic town of al-Kussair in the central province of Homs.

Recent battleground gains have boosted the morale of regime forces, who are reportedly pushing to regain other rebel-held areas.

Azerbaijani marketing platform plans to become regional player
Azerbaijani marketing platform plans to become regional player
Increase in malware attacks makes cybersecurity more relevant than ever - Kaspersky Lab in Azerbaijan
Increase in malware attacks makes cybersecurity more relevant than ever - Kaspersky Lab in Azerbaijan
Number of electronic registrations of businesses in Azerbaijan growing
Number of electronic registrations of businesses in Azerbaijan growing
Loading Bars
Latest
Kazakhstan twofold decreases exports to Norway amid COVID-19
5.3-magnitude quake hits 3 km SW of Point MacKenzie, Alaska
Qatar reports 460 new COVID-19 cases, 163,197 in total
Weekly review of highlights in Azerbaijani financial market
UK records another 7,434 coronavirus cases, 290 deaths
It is necessary to end deployment of Armenian armed forces on territory of Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry
WHO reports over 420,000 new daily cases of COVID-19
Istanbul’s major Galataport project to go live in April
0.03% of pupils and 0.1% of school staff in Georgia confirmed with Covid-19 this week
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on February 28
Uzbekistan's largest share in formation of GDP falls on Tashkent
Azerbaijan's revenues from tea, coffee exports double in Jan.2021
Cargo movements in Iran's Khalij-e-Fars port increase
China conditionally approves one-shot recombinant COVID-19 vaccine
Stock gains power Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway to higher profit
More than 165,000 apply for Turkey’s most popular scholarship
Georgian Railway resumes passenger transfers
Kazakhstan reports value increase in all types of deposits
New road put into operation in Iran's Golestan Province
Azerbaijan sets up working subgroups to prepare 2021-2025 Development Strategy
Bahar Azadi gold coin price falling in Iran
Azerbaijan reports 172 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Finance to put up medium-term bonds for auction
Azerbaijan's banking sector ends January 2021 with profit
Foundation of several manufacturing enterprises laid in Iran's Qazvin Province
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for metal detector via tender
USAID to promote start-up dev’t in Turkmenistan
President Aliyev: Any attempt to violate implementation of November 10th declaration will be very harmful for Armenia (VIDEO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for February 27
Bosnian TV channel visits liberated Azerbaijani Aghdam, reminds of Khojaly genocide
Azerbaijani police officers find ordnances left by Armenians in Khojavand (PHOTO)
Long-term energy demand impact of COVID-19 is modest
President Aliyev to Iranian reporter: Your question is a kind of an accusation (VIDEO)
New Zealand's largest city Auckland back to lockdown after COVID-19 case
Iran pins hopes on Swiss financial channel to purchase COVID-19 vaccines
Foreign journalists visit village where two-year-old Azerbaijani girl was killed by Armenians
Volume of cargo loaded, unloaded in Iran’s Chabahar port revealed
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for catering, housekeeping services
Kazakhstan boosts imports of Switzerland-made products
Uzbek ministry, German Society for International Cooperation sign agreement
Uzbekistan, China expand mutual trade despite COVID-19
Georgia reports 373 new cases of coronavirus on Feb.27
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange soar
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Baku Metro continues preparatory work for commissioning of new 'November' 8 station
Iran's exports to Russia increase
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for pumps via tender
Kazakh airlines eye to launch several flights on Turkestan-Istanbul route
UNDP in Turkmenistan opens tender for services on seismic work
Volume of electricity generated by renewable energy power plants in Iran announced
Researcher talks monuments on ancient Azerbaijani lands vandalized by Armenians (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan reveals COVID-19 data for Feb. 27
Azerbaijan's MoD shares footage from Gubadly's Afandilar village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iranian currency rates for February 27
Remittances from Azerbaijan to Georgia show highest growth rate
Belarus considering possibility of supplying agricultural machinery to Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenbashi Oil Refinery exceeds plan for kerosene production
Azerbaijani oil prices published
Kazakhstan's uranium mining company opens tender to acquire electro-technical materials
Issuance of construction permissions in Georgia down
Philippines extends partial coronavirus curbs in capital until end-March
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Kazakh gas supply company to attract equipment installation services via tender
Turkey's tourism industry puts hopes on safety measures for new season
Azerbaijani marketing platform plans to become regional player
Argentine health minister tests positive for COVID-19
Czech gov't declares new state of emergency over coronavirus
U.S. FDA advisors recommend approving Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
Increase in malware attacks makes cybersecurity more relevant than ever - Kaspersky Lab in Azerbaijan
South Korea vaccinates 18,000 to start ambitious COVID-19 campaign
US may announce new sanctions on Russia within weeks - White House press secretary
Founder of Indian Jet Airways eyes opening airline in Uzbekistan’s Namangan region
Saudi Arabia rejects U.S. intelligence report on Khashoggi's killing: statement
Israel registers 2,738 new COVID-19 cases, 769,971 in total
U.S. announces 'Khashoggi ban' for 76 Saudi individuals
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 427,000 in past day
Slovenia confirms first case of coronavirus variant identified in S. Africa
UN Security Council adopts resolution on vaccination
UK records another 8,523 coronavirus cases, 345 deaths
Kazakhstan shows interest in supplies of Belarusian sugar, its manufacturing technology
Turkey reports 9,205 new COVID-19 cases, 2,683,971 in total
Iran, Russia emphasize need to coop. in agricultural sector
When will Georgia receive its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?
House poised to approve Biden's $1.9T coronavirus relief bill in Friday vote
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Azerbaijan discloses volume of liabilities of banks in Jan. 2021 accounting for deposits
Azerbaijan imposes restrictions on import of poultry meat from Estonian county
Amount of financial support of Kazakh manufacturing sector by Baiterek holding increases
Attracting FDI can help Georgia to boost exports of high-value food products - OECD
European Council extends mandate of special representative for South Caucasus
Kuwait reports 1,022 new COVID-19 cases, 189,046 in total
WHO says COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Africa has gathered steam
Armenia has always supported terrorism - MP
EU supports JCPOA commitments
Azerbaijan focused on rehabilitation, reconstruction of liberated lands - MP
Assistant to Azerbaijan's president talks country's success in int'l information field
Baku Stock Exchange to auction off Azerbaijani Central Bank's short-term notes
Azerbaijan records growth of GDP in non-oil sector over Jan. 2021
Azerbaijan discloses volume of fruits and vegetables exported since early 2021
All news