Nightly News   |  May 09, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister says Syria used chemical weapons

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told NBC’s Ann Curry in an exclusive interview that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons and missiles, and crossed President Obama’s “red line” long ago. Erdogan will meet with Obama on May 16 to discuss the evidence he claims to have.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to an nbc exclusive tonight. after weeks of debate, growing concern about the alleged use of chemical weapons by the assad regime in syria . tonight one of the most important figures in the region says chemical weapons were, in fact, used. he says he has proof of it. and the world, including the u.s., he says, isn't paying enough attention. nbc's ann curry is live froms i tan ball in turkey with details. good evening.

>> reporter: that's right. the turkish prime minister , a long time u.s. ally said syria 's government passed president obama 's red line on chemical weapons . he challenged the u.s. and the world to end the war just across his border.

>> translator: it's clear that the regime has used chemical weapons . they used about 200 missiles according to our intelligence. it can be even more, but not less.

>> reporter: what evidence do you have?

>> we have the missiles, picture, and intelligence reports. and there are patients brought to our hospitals who are wounded by the chemical weapons .

>> reporter: has president assad crossed president obama 's red line ?

>> translator: a long time ago. it's not now. it has been passed a long time ago.

>> reporter: the prime minister did not show us his evidence to say what kind of chemical weapons were used but said he will share it with president obama when he meets with him next week in washington.

>> translator: mr. obama and myself, of course, we are aware of our responsibilities. but we want the united states to take further steps.

>> reporter: many people in the united states are weary of war. some are asking why do we have any obligation at all to get involved in syria ? what is your answer to that?

>> translator: no one should defend war. how can you remain silent? a strong country like the united states , a country like russia, they should not remain silent.

>> reporter: he says the world is standing by while people are dying.

>> these children, women, young and old, they are going to be killed and we just sit here and wait and watch.

>> reporter: the prime minister said president assad should leave syria immediately or he could end up like qaddafi, killed by his own people. the white house reacted to the interview today saying it does not yet have the evidence to say for certain whether a red line on chemical weapons has been crossed and that the president looks forward to meeting with him next week. brian?

>> ann curry live from istanbul. thanks.