Kerry: 1,429 people killed in Syrian chemical weapons attack

Map of Syria

A preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in an August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria and asserted that “we assess with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack against opposition elements in the Damascus suburbs.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said the American intelligence community has “high confidence” in what he called evidence and facts that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons, adding that “the questions is what are we … in the world going to do about it.”

A preliminary U.S. government assessment said 100 videos attributed to the attack “show large numbers of bodies exhibiting physical signs consistent with, but not unique to, nerve agent exposure.” Some videos show what appear to be fatalities “with no visible injuries” — imagery “consistent with death from chemical weapons, and inconsistent with death from small-arms, high-explosive munitions or blister agents.”

Kerry said Syrian officials made preparations for chemical weapons use for three days prior to the August 21 attack, and that rockets were launched from areas controlled by the Syrian regime and landed in areas controlled by the opposition or contested.

A U.S. military response to the attack “will not involve boots on the ground” or be open-ended, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday, adding that America will not assume responsibility for Syria’s civil war.