Secretary of State John Kerry spoke today on Syria and released a government report he says shows Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government was behind a chemical weapons attack last week, plus others. Kerry also upped the death toll, saying the attack killed 1,429 people. Kerry said the Syrian government’s role was “undeniable” and “a moral obscenity.”
He also said, “History would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s use of chemical weapons,” but did not specify what form U.S. action might take.
The plight of Christians in Syria is worsening, particularly since an Aug. 17 attack in an area previously safe for Christians killed 15, including an aid worker for the U.K.-based Christian relief group Barnabas Aid.
Over 1 million Syrians have fled the country and the needs of average Syrians in and outside the country are mounting, as more Syrians began fleeing Damascus this week with the threat of U.S. action.
Kerry said the United States is “not alone,” but should it take action against Syria it will do so without its closest ally, Britain. A motion by Prime Minister David Cameron went down in defeat in the House of Commons yesterday, but this detail went unnoticed in most accounts: Cameron’s move was not in direct support of the United States but called for action after UN weapons inspectors reported findings to the UN Security Council. In other words, for perhaps the first time in recent history, the Brits did not intend to follow the Obama administration without independent evidence.
Just because Syria tops U.S. news crawls doesn’t mean the crisis in Egypt has gone away. Thousands of protesters took to the streets again today, and three reportedly have been killed by Egyptian security forces.
Open Doors reports that Islamic militants in Egypt have killed seven Christians, injured hundreds, and kidnapped 17 since the latest wave of Muslim Brotherhood-led violence began two weeks ago.
Leading Irish poet Seamus Heaney has died.