US President Barack Obama has a stern warning for the country of Syria. In an address made early Monday, the commander-in-chief confirmed that he has not ruled out an offensive strike on Bashar al-Assad and his regime.
Speaking from the White House, President Obama said that if Syria were to deploy chemical or biological weapons, the United States will follow through with its threat of launching an attack.
Responding to a question about America’s current attitudes towards Assad, Obama said that the United States will not tolerate any efforts to allow Syria or any other countries to use weapons of mass destruction.
“We have been very clear to the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” the president said. “That would change my equation. . . . We’re monitoring that situation very carefully. We have put together a range of contingency plans.”
“We cannot have a situation in which chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people,” Mr. Obama added. “We have put together a range of contingency plans. We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us.”
Obama added to reporters that his warning doesn’t apply only to Syria, either, but that the United States could consider maneuver with or against any other country that is considering chemical warfare.
“It doesn’t just include Syria. It would concern allies in the region, including Israel, and it would concern us,” President Obama said.
“At this point,” Mr. Obama said, “the likelihood of a soft landing seems pretty distant.”
Last month, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told reporters that his country will not use chemical weapons amid a months-long standoff with anti-Assad rebels. He did, however, admit that Syria has access to such warheads and could deploy them upon further developments.
“All of these types of weapons are in storage and under security and the direct supervision of the Syrian armed forces and will never be used unless Syria is exposed to external aggression,” Makdissi said.