NATO: Syria gas attack was 'clear breach' of international norms

NATO issued a sharp statement on Wednesday blasting the Syrian regime for an alleged chemical weapons attack and giving tacit approval for a U.S. retaliatory strike.

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“This is a clear breach of long-standing international norms and practice,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said following an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors. 

“Any use of such weapons is unacceptable and cannot go unanswered. Those responsible must be held accountable."

“We consider the use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security,” he added.

The statement comes as the Obama administration and the French and British governments are moving toward a military strike following allegations that Bashar Assad's forces killed more than 1,000 people with poison gas last week.

Here is the full statement:

The North Atlantic Council has just discussed the situation in Syria and in particular the horrific use of chemical weapons around Damascus on 21 August.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms these outrageous attacks, which caused major loss of life.

NATO Allies expressed their full support to the ongoing UN investigation. They deplored that the Syrian regime failed to provide immediate and secure access for the United Nations inspectors to the sites of the attacks.

The Syrian regime maintains custody of stockpiles of chemical weapons. Information available from a wide variety of sources points to the Syrian regime as responsible for the use of chemical weapons in these attacks.

This is a clear breach of long-standing international norms and practice. Any use of such weapons is unacceptable and cannot go unanswered. Those responsible must be held accountable.

We consider the use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security.

We will continue to consult and keep the situation in Syria under close review, and NATO continues to assist Turkey and protect the Alliance’s south-eastern border.

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