The United States said Wednesday it holds Syrian President Bashar al-Assad directly responsible for alleged chemical weapon attacks against his people, even though he may not have issued orders himself.
As intelligence units zero in on precisely who may have ordered the atrocity that saw up to 1,300 Syrian civilians killed in apparent poison gas attacks on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, the State Department insisted Assad himself was to blame.
“We ultimately of course hold President Assad responsible for the use of chemical weapons by his regime against his own people, regardless of where the command and control lies,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told a press briefing.
“The commander in chief of any military is ultimately responsible for the decisions made under their leadership, even if… he’s not the one that pushes the button, or says ‘Go’ on this,” she told a press briefing.
Suspicion has swirled as to who in Assad’s inner circle — or, potentially, among mid-level commanders — may have given the green light to unleash what several experts believe was a deadly nerve agent.
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