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White House Increasingly Concerned About Syrian Chemical Weapons, Drawing Up Contigency Military Plans

Obama draws a “red line” in Syria.

SANA / AP

In this Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a Syrian soldier aims his rifle at free Syrian Army fighters during clashes in the Damascus suburb of Daraya, Syria.

WASHINGTON — White House officials raised alarm Monday over the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stockpile, warning that any use by the Assad government would cross a “red line,” that may provoke a military response.

“Our concerns about the regime’s intentions with respect to its chemical weapons stockpiles has increased,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

“Any use or proliferation of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime will cross a red line,” he added. “There is no doubt that we have an increased concern about this.”

Carney said Obama drew the red line at the use of chemical weapons, adding that the administration is concerned by reports of movement of those weapons, as the Syrian regime loses ground to opposition forces.

“I wouldn’t want to speculate, but…we are preparing for all scenarios,” Carney said, when asked about he response to Syria potentially using the weapons. Asked specifically about a military response, Carney said, “contingency planning of all kinds is the responsible thing to do.”

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