“On August 21, the regime used chemical weapons in an attack that killed 1,000 people,” Obama said during his speech at the 68th UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
“It’s an insult to human reason and to the legitimacy of this institution to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack,” he added.
The US president also threatened to use military force against Syria if needed.
“The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure these core interests in the region. We will confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War,” he said.
Obama noted “an agreement on chemical weapons should energize a larger diplomatic effort” in Syria, referring to a deal that would put Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile under international control.
He also mentioned his call for a political solution regarding the conflict in Syria during his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“As I’ve discussed with President Putin for more than a year… my preference has always been a diplomatic solution,” he said. “We have reached an agreement to place Syria’s chemical weapons under control… The Syrian government took a first step by giving an accounting of its chemical stockpiles.”
The UN Security Council must endorse a strong resolution that insures Syria will verify it is handing over its chemical weapons or face “consequences” if it fails to do so, Obama said.
“If we cannot even agree on this,” it will show that the UN is “incapable of enforcing even the most basic of international laws,” he said.
Washington accused Damascus of using chemical weapons in an attack on August 21. The Syrian government, however, denied the allegation.
Russia has said it has evidence which shows militant groups operating in Syria staged the attack to incriminate the Syrian government.
Russia has accused the US of trying to blackmail it into accepting a UN resolution authorizing military action against the Syrian government.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday that Western countries had threatened to stop working to implement a deal on destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons unless Russia supports a UN Security Council resolution that includes Chapter 7, which allows the possibility of military intervention in the Arab country.