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French intel: Syrian regime led chemical attack

Published: Monday, Sept. 2 2013 11:50 a.m. MDT

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, right, reacts as he arrives at the French Prime Minister in Paris, Monday Sept. 2, 2013. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will meet with the leaders of Parliament's defense and foreign affairs committees. The prime minister's office said Ayrault will give the lawmakers an update on Syria and show them a declassified report on Syria's chemical weapons to back up France's claim that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack.  (Michel Euler, Associated Press) French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, right, reacts as he arrives at the French Prime Minister in Paris, Monday Sept. 2, 2013. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will meet with the leaders of Parliament's defense and foreign affairs committees. The prime minister's office said Ayrault will give the lawmakers an update on Syria and show them a declassified report on Syria's chemical weapons to back up France's claim that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack. (Michel Euler, Associated Press)

PARIS — A French intelligence estimate alleges that the Syrian regime launched an attack Aug. 21 involving "massive use of chemical agents" and could carry out other strikes of a similar nature in the future.

The government published a 9-page synopsis Monday about Syria's chemical weapons program that found that at least 281 deaths could be attributed to the attack in areas outside Damascus. The analysis based that count in part from dozens of videos culled by French intelligence services.

President Francois Hollande has backed a call from President Barack Obama for a military strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad's government in retaliation for the attack.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault hosted lawmakers, his defense and foreign ministers, and intelligence and security officials Monday to discuss Syria.

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