Stopping Syria from using chemical weapons 'almost unachievable'
Syrians search for survivors in the rubble of a building targeted by a missile in Aleppo on January 7.
January 10th, 2013
05:57 PM ET

Stopping Syria from using chemical weapons 'almost unachievable'

U.S. officials are discussing with Middle East governments the steps needed to ensure that Syria's chemical and biological weapons sites are secured if President Bashar al-Assad leaves office, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday.

"We're not talking about ground troops, but it depends on what ... happens in a transition," he told reporters.

Asked whether he had ruled out putting U.S. troops in Syria to secure such weapons, Panetta said: "You always have to keep the possibility that, if there is a peaceful transition and international organizations get involved, that they might ask for assistance in that situation. But in a hostile situation, we're not planning to ask for that."

Preventing Syria from using chemical weapons once its military has moved to use them "would be almost unachievable," said U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"You would have to have such clarity of intelligence, you know, persistent surveillance, you'd have to actually see it before it happened, and that's unlikely, to be sure," Dempsey said.

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Filed under: Assad • Military • Syria
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. CharlieSeattle

    Drop a Russian Thermobaric Bomb on each site. Blast and extreme heat will vaporize the chemical sites.

    US does not have anything as powerful as yet.

    January 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  2. F11

    Govt thinks all the US ppl are asleep so do you ppl from these distant places but we arent we arte well aware of whats going on. Us ppl have no quarals with ppl from across seas. you have a problem with govt an politics not the ppl so be clear who you are talking about.

    January 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  3. Joe the Saleman

    These official statements sound more like an invitation to Assad to use chemical weapons. They did the same to Saddam. They led him to think it was OK for him to invade Kuwait...These kind of people do not talk just to talk...

    January 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  4. massoud

    Look for the "rebels" or Extremists as I like to refer to them to possibly get chemical weapons and unleash them and have the propaganda machine aka Corporate controlled Mainstream Media news networks pin the blame on Syria, for the sole attempt to gain popular support for a UN Coalition Intervention. Americans are not as gullible as they used to be with all of the non Corporate controlled mainstream news networks available online. Their is not popular support for US Intervention in Syria considering that the "rebels" have terrorists in their ranks, and also because Americans are tired of policing the World.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:56 am | Reply
  5. Maroc

    I think the issue here is the chemical weapons falling into the wrong hands AFTER Assad is gone (ie. terrorists and their friends who are already in the country)

    January 11, 2013 at 3:22 am | Reply
    • israel rules you

      I love it when you stupid AMericans believe eveything cnn gives you as news.

      Just stay stupid, you stupid people! We israelis love our goyim dumber than dumb.

      and don't you worry about what's going on in syria . . . . when its time to send in the Marines to knock off another independent country that opposes and threatens us/israel, we will let you buy food on credit.

      We might lower the price of gas and we might keep you fighting in Syria for only a decade or so.

      You Americans are so easy to control.

      Just watch some more of our TV programming. Stay stupid. Suck our authority. And don't cry when we take your guns away from you.

      Yippppppppppppe . . . . we israelis are the Masters of the World and you stupid Americans are OUR SLAVES!

      Get used ti it!!

      January 11, 2013 at 6:42 am | Reply
  6. Are You Serious

    So the article points out that the only way to stop the use of these weapons is to see these weapons about to be used. Maybe I am missing something but sounds like there is no credible evidence that such an attack is about to take place. It's not nice to make random outlandish claims.

    January 11, 2013 at 2:30 am | Reply
  7. me

    The only way to prevent Assad from pulling anything like using these horrible weapons would be if the soldiers on the ground finally step up and tell him to take a hike, because every one of the leading military commanders in Syria will have to be sent to the international criminal court to be tried for their crimes against the Syrian people.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Reply

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