Don't limit U.S. ability to strike Syria to 'specific moment': Kerry

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 03, 2013 5:57 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress on Tuesday not to limit U.S. authority to strike Syria "to one specific moment," saying the U.S. military had follow-on strike options should President Bashar al-Assad use chemical weapons in the future.

"If he were foolish enough to do it again, the general does have follow-on possibilities," Kerry told a Senate hearing, referring to General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"It would be important for Assad himself to know that you have not limited this (authorization) to one specific moment with respect to chemical weapons.

"You can still have the limited authorization. But with respect to chemical weapons, it would be a huge mistake to deprive General Dempsey and company of their options to enforce what we're trying to achieve."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart)