Defense Secretary Chuck HagelChuck HagelWho will temper Trump after he takes office? Hagel: I’m ‘encouraged’ by Trump’s Russia outreach Want to 'drain the swamp'? Implement regular order MORE said Thursday that U.S. intelligence can say with "some degree of varying confidence" that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on its own people, The Associated Press and Reuters are reporting.
"It violates every convention of warfare,” Hagel said during a trip to the United Arab Emirates.
The Defense secretary said the weapons were used on “a small scale.” He said the origins of the sarin gas that was used have not conclusively been determined, but the Department of Defense believes it came from the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Obama administration has called chemical weapons use in the country “a red line” that would provoke U.S. military action. At least 60,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in a conflict between rebel groups and the Assad regime.
On Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration remained unconvinced that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons.
“I'm saying that we support an investigation,” Carney said. “We are monitoring this. And, you know, we have not come to the conclusion that there has been that use. But it is something that is of great concern to us, to our partners, and, obviously, unacceptable as the president made clear.”