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Pentagon warns Syria against using chemical weapons

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 09:42

Washington: The United States has warned the Syrian regime not to use chemical weapons against its own people, asserting that it would be "red line" for US and the international community and such action would be totally "unacceptable."

"Without getting too deep into matters of intelligence, I`m unaware of any information that would suggest that the Syrians are planning the imminent use of chemical weapons or deployment of chemical weapons. Let me be very clear, that this government would view that kind of action as a red line," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

"Senior officials in this government have been very clear about that. And we will continue to do so," he told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

"The Assad regime continues to perpetrate violence against its own people. It`s entirely unacceptable. It`s depraved. And it`s time for the Assad regime to go. But in the meantime, they have a serious responsibility to maintain security over their chemical weapons stockpiles and not to use them," he said.

The Syrian regime, he stressed, has an obligation to maintain security over Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles.
"I have not heard of a change in the secretary`s assessment," he said.

Any use of chemical weapons, he said, would be absolutely unacceptable.

"International community has been clear about this; we`ve been clear about it; and we hope the Syrians receive that very strong message," he said.

Little said there is progress on deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey.
"This is a NATO effort in which the United States is participating. Roughly half of the 400 troops that are part of this effort have made their way to Turkey, and about half the equipment, as well. By the end of the month, we expect to have all 400 or so personnel in Turkey and all of the equipment there, too," he said.

"This is a mission that`s slated for up to a year. We`re going to continue to monitor the situation in Syria to see how long we need to be there, but this is something that we believe is very important for our alliance with Turkey and is very important in the context of NATO," Little said.


First Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 09:42

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