The United States has finished neutralizing the Syrian regime's declared chemical weapons aboard a vessel call the Cape Ray. This task was completed just prior to the one year anniversary of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's deadly chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburbs, which killed more than 1,000 innocent Syrians, including so many children.
This attack, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, "reminded all the world why these weapons have long been shunned by the civilized world and revealed for any who still doubted the true face of Assad."
In the midst of a civil war, the international community removed and destroyed the most dangerous chemicals in the Syrian regime's declared stockpiles. But much more work must be done.
First, the international community has important questions with regard to discrepancies and omissions related to Syria's chemical weapons declaration.
Second, Syria must complete the destruction of its remaining chemical weapons production facilities within mandated timelines.
Third, the U.S. remains deeply concerned by reports of systematic use of chlorine gas in opposition areas, as described by the fact-finding mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. "Each and every one of these issues," said Secretary Kerry, "must be fully resolved."
Lastly, but most importantly, the Assad regime's brutality must come to an end. Assad lost any legitimacy to lead Syria long before he gassed his own people to death.
The United States will continue to provide political, financial, and other support to the moderate opposition because we are committed to help those who seek the right of all Syrians to choose a future of peace and oppose the violent extremists who exploit the chaos and ruin that Assad has brought to Syria. A free Syria where people can live without fear is a milestone we all should be committed to achieve together.