officials say the Syrian military has loaded active chemical weapons
into bombs and is awaiting a final order from embattled President Bashar
Assad to use the deadly weapons against its own people.
reports that on Wednesday the Syrian military loaded sarin gas into
aerial bombs that could be deployed from dozens of aircraft.
The last large-scale use of sarin
was in 1988, when former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces killed
5,000 Kurds in a single attack.
However, U.S. officials told NBC
that the sarin bombs had not yet been loaded onto planes but added if
Assad gives the final order, "there's little the outside world can do to
The Syrian government has previously insisted that it would not use chemical weapons against its own people.
For months, the Obama administration has described the Assad regime
as being on the verge of collapse. If the Syrian government were to be
toppled from outside forces or from within, it would be the first nation possessing weapons of mass destruction to do so.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has as recently as last week
warned of the possibility that Assad could use chemical weapons against
his own people. After meeting other NATO foreign ministers in Brussels
last week, Clinton told the gathering, "Our concerns are that an
increasingly desperate Assad regime might turn to chemical weapons, or
might lose control of them to one of the many groups that are now
operating within Syria."
"We have sent an unmistakable
message that this would cross a red line and those responsible would be
held to account," she said.
At the end of the meeting, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen backed up Clinton's threat, declaring that the international community could take military action against Assad and his forces.
"The possible use of chemical
weapons would be completely unacceptable for the whole international
community and if anybody resorts to these terrible weapons I would
expect an immediate reaction from the international community,"
Rasmussen told reporters.
I just find it strange that this story is being reported hours after Obama addressed Asad...