(WASHINGTON) -- During ongoing testimony at the House Foreign Affairs committee Wednesday morning, U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said that the administration has not uncovered any evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but warned that if the Assad regime uses or loses any of its stockpile, “there will be consequences.”
“So far we have no evidence to substantiate the reports that chemical weapons were used yesterday,” Ford testified. “But I want to underline that we are looking very carefully at these reports. We are consulting with partners in the region and in the international community.”
Amb. Ford said the administration “have been very clear from the beginning about our concern that as the Assad regime’s military situation deteriorates, and it becomes as the director of national of intelligence said, it becomes ever more beleaguered that it might be tempted to use chemical weapons.”
For the record, Amb. Ford reiterated the president’s “very clear” position about the use of chemical weapons in Syria: “If Assad and those under his command make the mistake of using chemical weapons, or if they fail to meet their obligation to secure them, then there will be consequences, and they will be held accountable.”
Last night, House Intel Chairman Mike Rogers told CNN: "I have a high probability to believe that chemical weapons were used…We need that final verification, but given everything we know over the last year and a half, I would come to the conclusion that they are either positioned for use, and ready to do that, or in fact have been used."
On Wednesday, Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham, who have pressed the administration to become more engaged in Syria, also wrote a joint statement that if the purported chemical weapon attacks are verified, President Obama is compelled to respond.
“If today’s reports are substantiated, the President’s red line has been crossed, and we would urge him to take immediate action to impose the consequences he has promised," the duo wrote.
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