Obama Authorizes Chemical Weapons Aid to Syria

President Barack Obama authorized the U.S. to give chemical weapons-related assistance to opposition groups in Syria, including training for chemical attacks and protective equipment for some groups. The White House said in an order Monday that Obama, citing U.S. national security, was waiving provisions of the law that bars the U.S. from providing munitions to countries supporting acts of terrorism. The order came just after a United Nations report confirmed that chemical weapons, including rockets loaded with sarin gas, were used against civilians in a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21. The report stopped short of saying which side in Syria's civil war used the weapons, though the U.S. has blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and estimated that over 1,400 people, including hundreds of children, were killed. Syria and its ally Russia say rebels were responsible. On Saturday, the U.S. and Russia announced a framework to avert U.S. strikes by having Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons be removed by next year.

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