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German intel shows Assad did not order Syria gas attack: report

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MUNICH — German intelligence findings indicate that Syrian President Bashar Assad might not have ordered an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack but instead tried to block his military commanders from launching it, a German newspaper has reported.

The tabloid Bild am Sonntag reported over the weekend that a German intelligence ship deployed in the eastern Mediterranean intercepted messages among Syrian officials that indicate Mr. Assad's commanders went behind his back in launching the chemical weapons.

The newspaper report follows Mr. Assad's claims that he was not involved in a chemical weapons attack.

"There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people," he said in a recent interview with CBS News.

Allegations that the Assad regime used chemical weapons last month against rebels have heralded a potential U.S.-led intervention in Syria's 2½-year-old civil war.

The Obama administration has been trying to persuade congressional and world leaders to agree to a punitive attack on the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons, which are banned under international law.

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