Although “some evidence” has surfaced that chemical weapons have been used in Syria’s prolonged and intense civil war, it isn’t enough to warrant action, President Barack Obama said last week at a news briefing.
Obama said more facts must be known before he is willing to consider any kind of escalation or U.S. involvement in Syria. “We don’t know how [the chemical weapons] were used, when they were used, who used them,” he said. The U.K. and France have claimed that Syria has used poison gases in its war with opposition political groups. But “we don’t have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened,” the President said.
Syria’s cache of chemical weapons is believed to be the largest in the Middle East. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s stockpile of the nerve agent sarin stockpile “is estimated in the high hundreds of tons, possibly over 1,000 tons,” says Laicie Heeley, director of Middle East and defense policy at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation.
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