The Pentagon said Thursday a "preponderance of the evidence" indicates there were chemical weapons, including "elements" of sarin nerve gas, at the three Syrian sites bombed by the US and its allies last week. Any definitive conclusion probably will remain an open question for some time.
Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said at a Pentagon briefing that the United States believes the Syrian government, six days after the strikes, can still mount "limited attacks" but its ability to conduct research or improve chemical weapons has been degraded. He said its remaining chemical capabilities are "probably spread throughout the country at a variety of sites."
McKenzie said if Syrian forces were considering possible future attacks, "they've got to look over their shoulder and be worried that we're looking at them, and we'll have the ability to strike them again."
The American assessment underscored the difficulty in getting additional or more conclusive evidence about the Syrians' suspected use of chemical weapons and verifying the allies' success in destroying any large caches of chlorine gas or sarin.