Syria's Guilt in Chemical Attack 'Clear to the World,' Kerry Says


He also issued a direct message to Moulliam saying that if, as the Syrian regime claims, it has nothing to hide, it should have allowed immediate and unimpeded access to the site rather than continuing to attack the affected area to block access and destroy evidence.

Assad denied the allegations to the Russian newspaper Izvestia warning that any military intervention by the U.S. would end in "failure." Assad called the claims that his forces were behind the alleged chemical attack as "an insult to common sense." He said Western leaders should "stop meddling in the affairs of other countries" adding, "If someone dreams of turning Syria into a puppet of the West they won't succeed."

Russia's Lavrov has been on his own diplomatic push, speaking with European officials and warning that Russia sees the talk of military strikes as being similar to the drumbeat of war leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

At a press conference in Moscow today, he blasted the United States and its Western allies for making decisions based on growing "hysteria" over last week's attack and accused the West of jumping to conclusions about who was responsible before the U.N. team has submitted its report.

"The region is destabilized in an unprecedented way. So everyone should be responsible," he said, adding that he asked Kerry on the phone Sunday how the U.S. planned to prevent things from leading to regional chaos.

Lavrov repeated several times that an intervention in Syria would have the same destabilizing influence as Iraq and Libya, drawing the entire region into the conflict.

Russia also has doubts about the reliability of the evidence that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, he said, despite internet experts noting that the YouTube videos released so far match the timeline of the accusations.

Lavrov warned that talk of military options is getting in the way of diplomatic efforts by the U.S. and Russia to hold an international conference to find a diplomatic solution, something the Obama administration has repeatedly said it is committed to.

The foreign minister implied that the driving force behind any military action on Syria was not human rights concerns, but a Western obsession with interfering on their "short electoral cycles" and the "need to satisfy voters."

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