An official who served in the Obama administration has revealed that the administration was aware that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had access to chemical weapons.
This news emerged after forces of Assad dropped deadly chemical weapons on Syrian civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun last Tuesday. More than 80 people were killed in the attack, including at least 10 children.
In response to the attack, President Trump approved the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles targeting a Syrian airbase.
Now, the situation in Syria and the U.S.’s involvement is complicated by the fact that the Obama administration allegedly had knowledge that Assad still had chemical weapons, despite what the administration had told the public.
"We always knew we had not gotten everything, that the Syrians had not been fully forthcoming in their declaration," Tony Blinken, a former deputy secretary of state and former deputy national security adviser under Barack Obama, told the New York Times, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
John Kerry, Secretary of State in the Obama administration, had praised an agreement the U.S. made with Syria in 2013 that purportedly ensured Assad did not have access to chemical weapons. Kerry even said in 2014 that the agreement ensured Syria had gotten rid of “100 percent” of its chemical weapons.
Many have criticized the administration for this apparent dishonesty, but others maintain that the blame rests with Assad who they say did not disclose all relevant information to the U.S.
Photo: In this handout provided by the U.S. Navy,The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter fires a Tomahawk land attack missile on April 7, 2017 in the Mediterranean Sea. The USS Porter was one of two destroyers that fired a total of 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield in retaliation for a chemical attack that killed scores of civilians this week. The attack was the first direct U.S. assault on Syria and the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the six-year war there.
Photo courtesy: Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via Getty Images
Publication date: April 10, 2017