Washington, DC— Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today condemned Syria’s use of chemical weapons against his own people. “The Administration’s assessment that Syrian President Assad has used chemical weapons is, if confirmed, no surprise to those of us who know what President Assad and his terrorist government are capable of doing,” Engel declared. “Assad has repeatedly demonstrated that he will do whatever is necessary to stay in power, including using both conventional, and weapons of mass destruction, to murder his own people. The use of these weapons of terror is an obscenity to civilization and a crime against humanity.”

“Assad must go and it is time for the U.S. and our allies to immediately arm vetted elements of the Syrian opposition to bring an end to his government. When I spoke with the White House today, I told them that we must act now to stop Assad before he uses these weapons again.”

“My bipartisan bill, the Free Syria Act of 2013 (H.R. 1327), would authorize the United States to provide such arms. I urge the President and members of both parties in Congress to support this effort.”

Rep. Engel introduced H.R. 1327 on March 21, 2013 along with Rep. Mike Rogers, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Rep. Engel was also the author of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act of 2003, under which the President has imposed a variety of sanctions on Syria.