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Corker: Suspected Chemical Attack in Syria a “Moral Outrage”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today condemned the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria and urged the administration to work with the European Union to hold the regime of Bashar al-Assad accountable for war crimes against his people.

“The U.S., along with our European partners, must strongly condemn this moral outrage and demand accountability for Assad’s war crimes,” said Corker. “The regrettable failure to take military action in 2013 to prevent Assad’s use of chemical weapons remains a blight on the Western world. Instead, we figuratively jumped in Putin’s lap over an agreement to remove Syria’s chemical weapons that we now know did not fully occur. Today, 500,000 people are dead in one of the worst humanitarian disasters in modern times, and had we taken action when we could, the situation in Syria might be very different than it is today.”

In 2013, the committee approved then-President Barack Obama’s request to use military force against the Assad regime for the use of chemical weapons. The administration eventually chose to back off of planned airstrikes in favor of an agreement brokered by Russia to remove Syria’s declared stockpile of chemical weapons. Despite an announcement in 2014 by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that the weapons were destroyed, evidence of Assad’s chemical weapons has persisted. U.S. intelligence agencies in 2015 subsequently determined the regime did not give up all of its chemical weapons.