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Mar 20, 2013 10:51 AM by Associated Press

Ambassador: No evidence of chemical use in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. ambassador to Syria says the Obama administration has no evidence so far to support claims of chemical weapon use but is looking carefully at the conflicting reports.

Robert Ford made the comments Tuesday at a House hearing, one day after President Bashar Assad accused U.S.-backed rebels of using such weapons in Aleppo province.

The Obama administration disputed that claim, and a U.S. official said there was no evidence that either Assad forces or the opposition had used chemical weapons in an attack in northern Syria.

Ford said that an increasingly besieged Assad regime might be tempted to use the weapons.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said there was a "high probability" a chemical agent was deployed.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says he fears a "stain on our national credibility" if the United States determines that Syria's Bashar Assad is using chemical weapons to remain in power but fails to intervene.

Michigan Republican Mike Rogers says there's a "high probability" a chemical agent was deployed Tuesday in northern Syria.

Rogers spoke a day after the Obama administration disputed the Assad regime's claim that rebels had used such weapons in Aleppo.

Rogers tells "CBS This Morning" the U.S. knows "there has been some forensic evidence that at least small quantities" of chemical weapons may have been used. Rogers also says the United States has "lost the faith" of the opposition forces, adding, "This is the time to act. Don't wait until we have 5,000 dead."

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