Pressed on Syria Crossing Red Lines, Obama Says Chlorine isn’t ‘Historically’ a Chemical Weapon

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During a press conference at Camp David, President Obama said that chlorine isn’t ‘historically’ a chemical weapon.

Obama made the comment at a press conference after a meeting with several leaders of countries in the Persian Gulf region.

“Now there’s a possibility that Assad has once again used chemical weapons,” reporter Mike Viquera said. “What did you tell these leaders here, who are disappointed last time, and will you use a military response if it’s confirmed that he used chemical weapons again?”

President Obama said that “Assad gave up his chemical weapons. And that’s not speculation on our part. That, in fact, has been confirmed by the organization internationally, that is charged with eliminating chemical weapons.”

Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin and Eli Lake reported Wednesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has again been caught with chemical weapons. Officials from the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons informed the Obama administration that traces of two banned chemical weapons were found in Syria.

“We have seen reports about the use of chlorine in bombs that had the effect of chemical weapons. Chlorine, chlorine, itself, historically has not been listed as a chemical weapon, but when it is used in this fashion, can be considered a prohibited use of that particular chemical,” President Obama said.

“And so we’re working with the international community to investigate that and, in fact, if we have the kinds of confirmation that we need, we will, once again, work with the international community and the organization charged with monitoring compliance by the Syrian government, and we will reach out to patrons of Assad, like Russia, to put a stop to it.”

The discovery of new chemical weapons in Syria would be a violation of a 2013 United Nations Security Council Resolution. The resolution provides penalties against Syrian government for violations under Chapter 7. These penalties can include possible sanctions or use of military force. The Obama administration has yet to act on this report.

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