Secretary of State John Kerry emerged at the State Department today to blast Bashar al-Assad’s regime for using chemical weapons and doubters who maintain the opposition was involved, and in the next breath still plugged for the Russia-crafted plan intended to clear out the Syrian dictator’s stockpile.
“We really don’t have time today to pretend that anyone can have their own set of facts, approaching the issue of chemical weapons in Syria,” Kerry said, referencing next week’s meeting of the UN General Assembly. “This fight about Syria’s chemical weapons is not a game. It’s real. It’s important. It’s important to the lives of people in Syria, it’s important to the region, it’s important to the world that this be enforced, this agreement that we came out of Geneva with.”
He noted that Russia clamored that the U.S. should wait for the UN report, which found this week that sarin had been used in a Damascus suburb.
“Every single data point — the types of munitions and launchers that were used, their origins, their trajectory, their markings, and the confirmation of sarin, every single bit of it confirms what we already knew and what we told America and the world. It confirms what we have brought to the attention of our Congress, the American people, and the rest of the world. The U.N. report confirms unequivocally that chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, were used in Syria,” Kerry said.
Even though the UN mandate was not to suss out the guilty party, he continued, the U.S. “associated one of the munitions identified in the U.N. report, the 122-millimeter improvised rocket, with previous Assad regime attacks.”
“There’s no indication, none, that the opposition is in possession or has launched a C.W. variant of these rockets, such as the kind that was used in the 21st of August attack… We know the Assad regime possesses sarin, and there’s not a shred of evidence, however, that the opposition does. And rocket components identified in the ground photos taken at the alleged chemical weapons impact location areas are associated with the unique type of rocket launcher that we know the Assad regime has. We have observed these exact type of rocket launchers at the Assad regime facilities in Damascus and in the area around the 21st of August. So there you have it. Sarin was used. Sarin killed.”
Kerry continued to rip the idea that “the opposition secretly went unnoticed into territory they don’t control to fire rockets they don’t have, containing sarin that they don’t possess to kill their own people. And that without even being noticed they just disassembled it all and packed up and got out of the center of Damascus controlled by Assad. Please.”
His message to the world heading into the General Assembly is “let’s not spend time debating what we already know.”
“Instead, we have to recognize that the world is watching to see whether we can avert military action and achieve through peaceful means even more than what those military strikes promised,” he said.
“The complete removal of Syria’s chemical weapons is possible here, through peaceful means. And that will be determined by the resolve of the United Nations to follow through on the agreement that Russia and the United States reached in Geneva, an agreement that clearly said this must be enforceable, it must be done as soon as possible, it must be real.”
Kerry asked for “everyone’s help in order to see that the Security Council lives up to its founding values that passes a binding resolution that codifies the strongest possible mechanism to achieve the goal and achieve it rapidly.”