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The White House asserted Monday that it’s highly likely the regime, not the rebel opposition, was behind any chemical weapons use in Syria.
White House spokesman Jay Carney spoke after a member of a U.N. panel investigating alleged war crimes and other abuses in Syria said there were indications the rebels, not the regime, used the nerve agent sarin.
The panel later distanced itself from the claims by Carla Del Ponte, saying it has no conclusive evidence about the alleged use of sarin.
The White House has not commented directly on Israel’s airstrikes, but Carney said Israel has the right to defend itself.
A U.S. official said the Obama administration does not see a strike by Israel as upping the ante or forcing the president’s hand.
No decisions have been made about arming rebel groups, and Israel’s actions do not move up the timeline for making such a decision, said the official, who was not authorized to speak about security deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Josh Lederman in Washington contributed.
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