WASHINGTON — Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein said Thursday that the “red line” in Syria had been crossed and that the U.S. must take action.
“The intelligence community has assessed that Syria has used chemical weapons on a small scale against the Syrian opposition,” Feinstein said in a statement. “This has now been acknowledged by the Secretary of Defense and the White House. The Senate Intelligence Committee has been briefed on the intelligence behind this assessment and has followed this matter very closely.”Feinstein continued by saying that it’s clear that the red line the administration has identified as its cue to intervene in Syria has been crossed, and calling for action from the UN Security Council. She expressed concern that the news would instigate Bashar al-Assad to go further:
I am very concerned that with this public acknowledgement, President Assad may calculate he has nothing more to lose and the likelihood he will further escalate this conflict therefore increases. It is also important that the world understands the use of weapons of mass destruction, such as sarin, will not be countenanced, and clearly Assad must go.
It is clear that ‘red lines’ have been crossed and action must be taken to prevent larger scale use. Syria has the ability to kill tens of thousands with its chemical weapons. The world must come together to prevent this by unified action which results in the secure containment of Syria’s significant stockpile of chemical weapons.
In the basis of this new assessment, which is matched by France and the United Kingdom, I urge the United Nations Security Council—including Russia—to finally take strong and meaningful action to end this crisis in Syria.