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US appalled by Syrian University bombing

January 17, 2013 10:23 IST

The United States has said it is appalled by the "deadly attack" on the University of Aleppo by the Syrian regime that reportedly killed more than 80 people and injured more than 150.

"The United States is appalled and saddened by the Syrian regime's deadly attack. According to eyewitnesses at the scene, regime planes launched aerial strikes on university facilities.  We understand that most of the victims of this tragedy were students and refugees who had been housed at the university," the State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her news conference on Wednesday.

US condemns this despicable attack on unarmed civilians and continue to emphasise that those responsible for unlawful killings and other violations of international law will be identified and held accountable, she said.

"Our sympathies and condolences go out to all those devastated by this senseless tragedy. The Syrian people have already endured too much loss as a result of the Assad regime's relentless attacks on its own people," she said.

Nuland said the United States remains committed to the policy that it has been pursuing, which, is a combination of increasing pressure on the Assad regime with its allies and partners through sanctions as well as supporting the efforts of the opposition, both to unite the country and also to come up with an effective transition plan, even as it provides as much humanitarian aid as it can to those who are suffering, including in the north and in the area of Aleppo.

The State Department spokesperson refuted news reports that the US has knowledge of use of chemical weapons by Syria.

"Without getting into classified cables, let me simply say that report from Foreign Policy did not accurately convey the anecdotal information that we had received from a third party regarding an alleged incident in Syria in December," she said.

"At the time, we looked into the allegations that were made and the information that we had received, and we found no credible evidence to corroborate or to confirm that chemical weapons were used," she said.

"We obviously will continue to monitor Syria's proliferation-sensitive materials and facilities, and we have been absolutely consistent and clear, from the President on down, that we have a redline with regard to use of chemical weapons or their proliferation.

If the Assad regime makes the tragic mistake of using chemical weapons or fails to meet its obligations to secure them, there will be consequences and the regime will be held accountable," Nuland added.

"I'm not in a position to speculate whether tear gas might have been mistaken for something else. I, frankly, can't do that. But I can confirm that, when we looked into this, we found no credible evidence to corroborate or confirm chemical weapons," she said in response to a question.

The US is permanently monitoring the situation with regard to chemical weapons in Syria, she added.

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