US officials say the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons 'multiple times' to kill at least 100 rebel fighters and civilians. Obama had warned Syria of 'enormous consequences' if it crossed that 'red line.'
In a warning last summer to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, President Obama said a “red line” would have been crossed if chemical weapons were used against rebels fighting there, and he promised “enormous consequences” if that were to happen.
According to news reports Thursday and a direct statement by the White House, that red line clearly has been crossed with chemical weapons used to kill between 100 and 150 people. But the White House was vague about its immediate response, other than to note it would "increase the scope and scale of assistance" to the anti-Assad rebels.
“Following a deliberative review, our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year,” White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said in a statement. “Our intelligence community has high confidence in that assessment given multiple, independent streams of information.”
“The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete,” Mr. Rhodes said, indicating that there may well be more casualties from chemical weapons.