Morning Brief: Obama warns Assad over chemical weapons

From Foreign Policy Tue Dec 4 2012, 13:49:46

Obama warns Assad over chemical weapons

Top news: Fighting in Syria intensified on Tuesday as the government of Bashar al-Assad pounded the southern suburbs of Damascus with artillery fire in an effort to control the vital airport road. Heavy fighting in the last five days has forced the United Nations and European Union to scale back their aid operations in Syria, raising additional concerns about food insecurity. To date, eight U.N. workers have been killed in the conflict, which has claimed some 40,000 lives.

Meanwhile, reports that the Syrian government has begun moving its chemical weapons stockpile prompted warnings from President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen that the use of such weapons would carry consequences. "The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable," Obama said Monday in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington.

NATO is expected to endorse a plan to deploy Patriot missiles along the Turkish border later this week.

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