(Photo: Reuters/Abo Alnour Alhaji)
Remnants of the chemical sarin have been found on articles of clothing and in soil near the site of the August 21 chemical attacks in Syria, Great Britain announced Thursday. The announcement comes four days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also said hair and blood samples from the region tested positive for the chemical gas.
The office of Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Thursday that tests conducted at the country's Porton Down laboratories found traces of sarin, a dangerous nerve agent that can kill a grown man with one drop, on clothing and soil in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus that suffered an intense chemical attack on civilians earlier in August.
Cameron told BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson on Thursday that the evidence of the gas "further shows the use of chemical weapons in that Damascus suburb," although he did not go as far to attribute responsibility for the chemical attack. The U.S., on the other hand, has openly accused Syrian president Bashar Assad's regime for the August 21 attack in the suburbs of Syria's capital city that reportedly left 1,429 dead, including 426 children.
Prime Minister Cameron initially announced his intention to support the United States in a limited military strike against Syria as punishment for using chemical weapons, but a parliamentary vote against intervention caused Cameron to back down. In his interview with the BBC, Cameron denied claims that he has "no hand to play" in the Syria conflict following the parliamentary vote, saying "Britain will be one of the leaders in bringing forward plans for a peace process for Syria. Britain will be leading the argument across the globe for continuing to respond strongly on chemical weapons."
President Obama announced this past Sunday that he is in support of a limited military strike against Syria, but he would first ask the permission of Congress to go through with the "no boots on the ground" limited attack of military installations in the Middle Eastern country. Although most members of Congress remain undecided on the issue, Obama has earned the important support of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner. A number of others, however, have already openly opposed any military involvement in Syria.
Also on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the U.S. had evidence of sarin gas from the Damascus site, which it had gleaned from hair and blood samples provided by first responders on the day of the attack. Kerry said the evidence proves "this case is building and this case will build."
"The case gets stronger by the day" for a military attack, Kerry added.
Syria's Bashar Assad regime has denied involvement in the August 21 chemical attack, instead blaming the use of chemical weapons on rebel forces seeking to oust the Bashar Assad regime from power. Those loyal to the president have been involved in a bitter, violent civil war for the past two years with rebel forces, some of whom are seeking to make Syria a completely Islamic state. The bloodshed has resulted in an estimated 2 million Syrian refugees who have fleed to other Middle Eastern countries, seeking safety.
Iran has vowed to support Syria "until the end" in the face of a possible U.S. military strike, while Russia and China have also expressed their opposition to international intervention in the Middle Eastern country. France, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey have all vowed to support the U.S. in a military strike.