By Julian Pecquet - 09/04/13 05:18 PM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry quantified what he said was international support for U.S. action in Syria during a House hearing on Wednesday.
Kerry said 53 countries and organizations have concluded that chemical weapons were used in the Damascus suburbs last month, and 37 have said so publicly. He said 31 of them have publicly or privately pinned the blame on Bashar Assad's regime and 34 “would support some form of action against Assad” if the allegations prove to be true.
“We have reached out to over 100 countries.” Kerry said. “We continue to reach out to these countries.”
Kerry went on to say that several U.S. allies in the Middle East have “offered to be part of this operation – more than our military believes we need.” He would not name them, however.
Kerry said support would grow “as the evidence we released yesterday becomes more prevalent.”
“I will be meeting with the foreign ministers of Europe, the 28 foreign ministers in Vilnius on Saturday. This will clearly be a topic of discussion. And many of them have had reservations, waiting for the evidence. So I see many more countries joining.”
“I think we are all troubled by the unfortunate lack of international support,” House Foreign Affairs panel Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in his opening statement.
--This report was updated at 1:52 p.m.