Kerry: Assad broke chemical arms treaty

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe Memo: Warning signs flash for Trump on debates Divided country, divided church TV ads favored Biden 2-1 in past month MORE said Thursday there is evidence Syrian President Bashar Assad is using chlorine gas, “in violation” of a global chemical weapons treaty.

"We believe there is evidence of Assad's use of chlorine," Kerry testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.


Chlorine gas is not on the list of chemicals Syria declared to the international community, but Kerry said its use is prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The secretary said the U.S. also had “some questions” about Assad honoring other parts of the weapons treaty.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Wednesday there was "compelling confirmation" that chlorine, in some form, was used in attacks on villages in northern Syria earlier this year. 

The announcement comes after the U.S. finished destroying chemical weapons that Damascus handed over to international observers last month.

The stockpiles were turned over as part of an agreement to avoid U.S. airstrikes after President Obama accused Assad of using chemical weapons against civilians in his country’s civil war.

Kerry said all Syrian chemical weapons that were declared "have been removed and destroyed. All of them."

The U.S. though still fears that Assad may have hid some chemical weapons, with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha PowerSamantha Jane PowerSupport swells for renaming Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to honor John Lewis after his death 'Obamagate' backfires: Documents show Biden, Obama acted properly 'Unmaskings' may be common — and that's the problem MORE saying earlier this month that there were “discrepancies and omissions” in Syria’s declared arsenal.

Kerry’s testimony came a day after the House voted to arm moderate Syrian rebels to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

He pushed back on any suggestions that the U.S. views the Syrian regime as legitimate, saying there is no "long-term future" for Assad in power.

"The Syrian opposition is not going to stop fighting Assad. We recognize that reality," Kerry said.