Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement in reaction to recent reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in the Damascus area:

“Reports that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against hundreds of civilians in the Damascus area are deeply disturbing yet unsurprising.  I support calls from the international community and the White House for immediate commencement of the UN inquiry.

“If confirmed, the use of chemical weapons on this scale and against civilian targets would represent a significant escalation in the level of state-sponsored violence against civilian targets.

“The death toll continues to rise and the humanitarian situation continues to spiral downward.  This crisis poses a threat to U.S. national security interests in the region.”