DAMASCUS: An opposition group tolerated in Damascus on Monday accused the regime of responsibility for an alleged chemical weapons attack outside the Syrian capital but spoke out against any punitive strike.
"The use of chemical weapons against civilians is a key turning point in the bloody conflict," the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change said in a statement.
"All of those who contributed to this horrendous crime should be punished. The regime holds primary responsibility," the group added.
"The crime was carried out in an area controlled by armed members of the opposition and during bombing of the area by government forces," added the statement, read out by members of the group at a Damascus press conference.
The group, which includes nationalist Arab and Kurdish parties, said however it was opposed to "any military aggression" by the United States or its allies in response to the attack.
"Military aggression would be in the interests of extremist forces taking part in the bloody conflict and would not serve to bring about democratic change or to build a civil and democratic state," it said.
The group called instead for international efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict, which began in March 2011 with an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Hundreds of people were killed in alleged chemical weapons attacks on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21.
The United States has accused the Syrian regime of carrying out the attacks, and President Barack Obama has said he will ask Congress to approve military action in response to the attacks.