PRAGUE:The Obama administration stressed anew today that it wouldn’t accept any use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, but didn’t say if it had any new evidence to suggest a possible deployment of the stockpiles by the embattled Syrian government.
Speaking in Prague, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated President Barack Obama’s declaration that Syrian action on chemical weapons was “red line” for the United States that would prompt action. She didn’t address news reports suggesting fresh activity at Syrian chemical weapons depots, but insisted that Washington would address any threat that arises.
“We have made our views very clear: This is a red line for the United States,” Clinton told reporters. “I’m not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur.”
Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface-to-surface missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads.
Its arsenal is a particular threat to American allies Turkey and Israel, and Obama singled out the threat posed by the unconventional weapons earlier this year as a potential cause for deeper US involvement in Syria’s civil war. Up to now, the United States has opposed military intervention or providing arms support to Syria’s rebels for fear of further militarising a conflict that activists say has killed more than 40,000 people since March 2011.