White House warns Syria on chemical weapons

July 17, 2012 17:33

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - The White House warned the Syrian government on Tuesday it will be held accountable for the safe handling and storage of any chemical weapons it possesses.

The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad appears to be quietly shifting some chemical weapons from storage sites, Western and Israeli officials have said, but it is not clear whether the operation is merely a security precaution amid the chaos of the Syrian conflict, or something more.

"There are certain responsibilities that go along with the handling and storage and security of those chemical weapons," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Air Force One headed for Texas, when asked about news reports on Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

"We believe that the individuals who are responsible for living up to those challenges should do so and will be held accountable for doing so," he said. But he said he could not comment on any specific intelligence reports on Syria's chemical weapons.

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