Assad Still Controls Syria's Chemical Weapons, Says Pentagon

Which is ... reassuring?


There's still no hard evidence about who caused the recent, deadly sarin gas attack in Syria. But the Pentagon's "strong view at this point" is that dictator Bashar Assad maintains control of his chemical arsenal.

Pentagon spokesman George Little wouldn't go into any specifics about the basis for that viewpoint, citing classified information. But Little said today that his "very strong belief" is that "if chemical weapons were used, it likely would have been used at the behest of the Syrian regime." President Obama has said that use of chemical weapons would cross a "red line" in terms of U.S. intervention in the conflict, though an actual U.S. response has yet to be determined.

Little was echoing comments made Thursday by his boss, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and the British defense chief that Assad still has control of the hundreds of metric tons of chemical weapons and their precursors in Syria. All that was occasioned by the White House's acknowledgement on April 25 that as-yet-unknown parties used sarin gas in the bloody, two-year old conflict.