Friday, August 30, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry Statement on Syria

At the Los Angeles, "John Kerry says Syria chemical attack killed at least 1,429 people":

WASHINGTON -- Unveiling a U.S. intelligence report on Syria’s use of chemical weapons, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday the evidence shows President Bashar Assad’s government killed at least 1,429 of its own citizens in a “crime against humanity” that demands an international response.

Kerry, trying to overcome doubts about the Obama's administration’s anticipated military strike on Syria, said the intelligence community has documented with “high confidence,” from “thousands of sources,” that Syrian forces prepared for days to attack entrenched rebel forces and then, on Aug. 21, fired gas-filled shells that killed at least 426 children, as well as adults.

“This is evidence,” Kerry said in an appearance at the State Department. “These are facts. The primary question is what are we ... going to do about it?”
Kerry’s statement came at a time when the British government has pulled back its earlier support for any U.S.-led retaliatory strike, and some other governments and U.S. lawmakers are demanding more time to consider whether the evidence justifies an attack on Assad. But while some American and foreign officials have concluded that the evidence is not airtight, Kerry insisted that it is.

He said the intelligence community has evidence of the Syrian army’s careful preparations for the attack, including the way it ordered soldiers to put on gas masks.

Evidence also shows that the rockets were fired only from government-controlled areas, and only struck rebel-held zones, Kerry said. Also discovered was a record of a senior Syrian official confirming that the government used chemical weapons, he said.

Kerry added that the Obama administration has other evidence it can’t reveal to the public or lawmakers because it would put at risk intelligence “sources and methods.”

U.S. officials have signaled that a retaliatory cruise-missile attack on Syria could begin as early as Saturday night.
Also, at the Washington Post, "FULL TRANSCRIPT: Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks on Syria on Aug. 30." (Via Memeorandum.)