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FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo, rubble fills Sharia al-Sweiqa, inside the Old City of Aleppo, Syria. A year after the opposition fighters stormed Aleppo, taking control of several districts in the city of three million and capturing much of its surrounding towns and villages, the industrial zones that constituted 60 percent of Syrian pre-war economy, are mostly deserted. Some have been looted and several have been burnt down. (AP Photo/Monica Prieto, File)
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Two Syrian officials have denied the government has used chemical weapons against rebel forces, saying the regime had no need for them.

The denials follow assertions by the White House and other top Obama administration officials that U.S. intelligence had concluded with “varying degrees of confidence” that the Syrian government has twice used chemical weapons in its civil war.

A Syrian government official said the government did not and will not use chemical weapons even if it had them. He spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give official statements.

Syrian official Sharif Shehadeh called the U.S. claims “lies” and likened them to false accusations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction ahead of the U.S. invasion of that country

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