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“All I can tell you is that this is an issue that has been made very clear by the president to be of great concern to us,” he said.

When pressed on whether the U.S. would decide to arm Syria’s rebel forces if there is proof of a chemical attack on them, Mr. Carney said only that “we are constantly assessing our programs of assistance to the Syrian people and to the Syrian opposition.”

⦁ This article was based in part on wire service reports.