U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced today that it was undeniable that Syria has used chemical weapons against its own people. Mr. Kerry made the statement today from inside the U.S. State Department building in Washington, DC.
According to ABC News, the secretary of state declared that the White House intends to hold Assad and the Syrian government responsible for the chemical attack. The attacks, last week, killed 355 civilians according to Medecins Sans Frontieres, who have treated a total of 3,600 victims with symptoms of exposure to neurotoxins.
Fox News reported that the Obama administration was not willing to wait for United Nations approval before acting on the Syrian situation. The administration is according to Fox News, working with the United States’ allies to gain their support before deciding on any action.
The secretary of state stated that the Obama administration has over the past few days been reviewing the situation. Mr. Kerry declared that the actions of the Syrian regime defies the code of morality and shocks the people of the world. He said:
“What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.”
Kerry went on to say that the United States government knows that the Syrian regime holds chemical weapons and this attack on their own citizens confirms it to the world. He stated:
“What is before us today is real, and it is compelling. So I also want to underscore that while investigators are gathering additional evidence on the ground, our understanding of what has already happened in Syria is grounded in facts informed by conscience and guided by common sense. The reported number of victims, the reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, the firsthand accounts from humanitarian organizations on the ground like Doctors Without Borders and the Syria Human Rights Commission – these all strongly indicate that everything these images are already screaming at us is real, that chemical weapons were used in Syria. Moreover, we know that the Syrian regime maintains custody of these chemical weapons. We know that the Syrian regime has the capacity to do this with rockets. We know that the regime has been determined to clear the opposition from those very places where the attacks took place. And with our own eyes, we have all of us become witnesses.”
Further information will be released in the coming days by the Obama administration. The full text of the secretary of state’s remarks can be viewed here.