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France: Syria Used Sarin Gas, So All Options Are on the Table

French Foreign Minister says that tests on chemical samples from Syria make it certain that Sarin was used in the country.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/5/2013, 3:15 AM

Hospital in Syria
Hospital in Syria
AFP photo

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday that tests on chemical samples from Syria make it certain that Sarin was used in that country's civil war, adding that “all options” are on the table.

“We have no doubt that the gas is being used…the laboratory tests are clear,” Fabius was quoted by AFP as having said on television, after French laboratory tests on blood and hair samples from Syria pointed to the use of Sarin gas.

“There is no doubt that the regime and its accomplices” are using them, he added.

“A line has been indisputably breached. We will hold talks with our partners on what we must do and all options are on the table,” to decide “whether to react, including in an armed manner,” Fabius said, according to AFP.

“But we are not there yet,” Fabius said, referring to armed intervention.

“We must react but at the same time we must not block an eventual peace conference,” he said, referring to U.S.  and Russia-backed efforts to get the rebels to join peace talks in Geneva.

Reporters working with the French Le Monde newspaper said last week they may have solid proof that chemical weapons were used in Syria. The reporters spent several weeks with rebels on the front lines of Syria’s bloody civil war, and returned with samples of weapons used by President Bashar Al-Assad’s army.

Le Monde reporters previously exposed the Syrian Army’s use of chemical weapons, reporting from first-hand experience that attacks had caused blurred vision and respiratory difficulty.

The U.S. and Britain recently said they have "credible evidence" that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and Turkey has confirmed its hospitals treated patients exposed to chemical attack.

The White House, however, said on Tuesday that it needed more evidence before declaring formally that Sarin gas has been used in Syria.

“We need to expand the evidence we have ... before we make any decision,” spokesman Jay Carney said, alluding to President Barack Obama’s stated position that use of the deadly nerve agent would be a “game-changer” for Washington.