Syrian opposition doctor who will testify before Congress about use of chemical weapons by Assad regime says attacks using chlorine are continuing. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: A Syrian doctor who will testify in front of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday (June 17) said on Tuesday (June 16) that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is continuing to use chemical weapons. Congress is scheduled to hear testimony from a number of Syrian doctors, and Dr. Mohamed Tennari of the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS) said he will present evidence that the Assad regime is using weaponized chlorine to terrorize opposition areas. Reuters is unable to independently verify the claims by SAMS. Tennari, a doctor from the northern city of Idlib, said in an interview that there had been dozens of attacks in his area alone. Tennari said that his organization had documented dozens of chemical weapons attacks since the U.S. and Russia brokered an agreement whereby Syria was supposed to surrender all of its weapons stockpiles. The chlorine attacks, he said, were designed to intimidate the population in opposition areas. "Poisonous gases, mostly chlorine, are being used regularly and systematically, and the aim is not to kill, because barrel bombs and war planes kill a much larger number. Rather the aim is to drive residents living in opposition areas out of their neighborhoods. The Assad forces are always repeating, and writing on the walls that it is Assad or no-one, Assad or we incinerate the country," he said. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been investigating allegations of dozens of recent chlorine gas attacks in Syrian villages, but it is being refused access to the sites by President Bashar al-Assad's government, diplomatic sources have said. Tennari said today that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama should make good on its word to punish the use of chemical weapons and put in place a no-fly zone to protect civilians. "President Obama has spoken about red lines several times, and the red line has been violated many times. What we wish for is the protection of civilians, air cover to protect civilians, or anything that protects civilians from air strikes. In addition to enabling civil society to govern the liberated areas."