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UN Experts Leave Syria As US Edges Toward Strike [VIDEO]

The U.N. experts investigating last week’s alleged chemical weapons strike outside Damascus left Syria early today and crossed into neighboring Lebanon.

 President Barack Obama welcomes President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania, and President Andris Berzins of Latvia to the White House
President Barack Obama welcomes President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania, and President Andris Berzins of Latvia to the White House (Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

They have with them blood and urine samples from victims as well as soil samples from the affected areas for examination in laboratories in Europe.

An Associated Press crew saw the U.N. personnel enter Lebanon from Syria through the Masnaa border crossing and then drive in a 13-car convoy to the Beirut airport following ffter four days of on-site inspections that wrapped up yesterday.

The inspectors’ departure brings the looming confrontation between the U.S. and President Bashar Assad’s regime one step closer to coming to a head.

But any U.S. action carries the potential to trigger retaliation by the Syrian regime or its proxies against U.S. allies in the region, such as Jordan, Turkey and Israel.

US: ‘High confidence’ of Syria chemical arms use

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says it has “high confidence” that Syria’s government carried out a chemical weapons attack last week outside Damascus, the capital — killing 1,429 people.

The U.S. chemical weapons assessment says Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government used an unidentified nerve agent in the attack. The report cites human and satellite intelligence that it says backs up publicly available videos and other evidence.

The unclassified report says at least 426 children died.

The report says the “high confidence” assessment is the strongest position that U.S. intelligence agencies can take short of confirmation.

It dismisses the Assad government’s contention that rebels were responsible.

The U.S. says additional intelligence remains classified but is being provided to allies and Congress.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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