Washington D.C. – Ranking Member Eliot Engel, the senior Democratic member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement on President Obama’s response to reports that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against its own people.

"I commend the President for the actions he has thus far taken in response to the reported use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria. President Obama was absolutely right to deploy additional naval assets to the eastern Mediterranean, and lead international calls for Assad to give full access to the UN weapons inspectors already inside Syria. I fully agree with the White House that after days of delays, the regime's agreement to allow the inspectors access to the suburbs of eastern Damascus is too late to be credible.

The Assad regime must know that its use of these weapons, if confirmed, constitutes a violation of not only our red lines, but of basic international norms. I believe the President intends to enforce these lines-- and that we must act before our response is too late to achieve its intended deterrent effect. While the decision to use force in a foreign conflict is never an easy one, I believe that the United States in conjunction with our international allies have a moral obligation to help prevent the further use of these horrific weapons against civilians and take steps to tip the balance away from this brutal regime.”