Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Bashar Assad's regime has been using chemical weapons against the rebels, adding that he intended to discuss the issue with US President Barack Obama.
"We will discuss the use of chemical weapons during our meeting with President Obama; it's clear that the Assad regime is using it," Erdogan told Japanese media. "The opposition is in control of the region, but Assad is the one using chemical arms, fighter planes and helicopters. These are the final moments of the regime, but we don’t know when it will fall. It'll happen suddenly."
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Earlier Thursday, a top government official told CNN that chemical weapons were a "red line" for Syria, too, in the backdrop of increasing reports of the use unconventional weapons in the country.
Syrian Information Minister Omran al Zoubi said in an interview with CNN that a hard-line Islamist rebel group has used chemical weapons during the civil war and his government "would never use" such munitions "if we had them."
"President Obama says chemical weapons are a red line," al Zoubi said. "Then he is in direct accordance with President (Bashar) Assad who also thinks that chemical weapons are a red line."
Meanwhile, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed most Americans do not want the United States to intervene in chemical weapons, in a clear message to the White House as it considers how to respond to the worsening crisis.
Only 10% of those surveyed in the online poll said the United States should become involved in the fighting. Sixty-one percent opposed getting involved.
The figure favoring intervention rose to 27% when respondents were asked what the United States should do if President Assad's forces used chemical weapons. Forty-four percent would be opposed.
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