France said on Tuesday it had performed tests that proved President Bashar al-Assad’s forces had used nerve gas in Syria’s civil war, a “red line” that the United States and other countries have repeatedly said would demand a response.
Washington separately said it would deploy Patriot missiles and F-16 fighter jets to Syria’s neighbor Jordan for a military exercise and perhaps longer. Russia, Assad’s main international backer, criticized the move and accused the West of inflaming the conflict by sending arms to the war zone.
French officials said their tests were the first that complied with international standards and proved that chemical weapons were used in Syria.
Washington, which has said for months it believes Assad’s forces probably used chemical weapons, said it still needed to study the evidence. “We need more information” about claims of such use, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.