In a remarkable reversal, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in Abdu Dhabi Thursday afternoon that the US intelligence community believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its people, determining with "varying degrees of confidence" that Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces have used the nerve agent sarin against civilians and forces fighting to remove Assad from power. Secretary of State John Kerry then said: The Syrian government has launched two chemical attacks.
Any use of chemical weapons, Hagel said, would violate standards of warfare.
The White House is informing Congress about the chemical weapons use now, Hagel said, hours after he voiced reservations about the assessment Tuesday by a senior Israeli military intelligence officer Brig. Gen. Itai Brun. President Barack Obama has stated that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a game changer.