Black columns of smoke rise from heavy shelling, Jobar neighborhood, Damascus, Syria
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department says it is canceling a meeting with Russian diplomats on Syria this week.
The meeting at The Hague was about setting up an international conference to find a political resolution to the Syrian crisis. A senior State Department official said Monday the meeting between Undersecretary Wendy Sherman and U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford with their Russian counterparts was canceled because of the ongoing U.S. review about alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The U.S. says it has evidence that chemical weapons very likely were used by the government of Bashar Assad. The U.S. official said the meeting will be rescheduled because a political solution is still needed in Syria.
The official was not authorized to publicly confirm the cancellation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
A day after Secretary of State John Kerry said there is "undeniable" evidence of chemical weapons use by Syria, the Obama administration is expected to make a more formal declaration.
The international community appears to be considering action that would punish the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad for deploying deadly gases suspected of killing hundreds, including women and children.