Yesterday, in an address to the media, Congressman Andrews voiced his support of a proposal that would strip Syria of its deadly chemical weapons through peaceful and diplomatic means rather than the use of force. After spending many hours carefully deliberating the situation with leaders from the White House, State Department and the Department of Defense, Congressman Andrews assessed that it was in America's best interest to pursue diplomatic efforts that would place Syria's stock of chemical weapons under international control.
Syria is embroiled in an ongoing civil war between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and Syrian rebel forces. On August 21, a weaponized chemical known as sarin gas was used against a civilian population in Syria, killing over 1,400 people including over 400 children as detailed by the U.S. Department of State. U.S. intelligence has demonstrated that Bashar al-Assad's regime perpetrated the attack. Subsequently, the international community has struggled to find an appropriate response to this wanton violation of the international norm against the use of chemical weapons. A proposal put forth by Russia would place Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons under the supervision of an international coalition that will safely and peacefully destroy the chemicals. The Assad regime has shown signs of cooperation and a willingness to accept the terms of such a proposal.
Following a meeting this morning at the Pentagon with Secretary of Defense Hagel and Gen. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congressman Andrews stated, "we are working to make the negotiations between Russia and our country successful so that we may have a diplomatic resolution in Syria. A diplomatic solution is both desirable and possible, but we all need to give it our full attention."
As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Andrews will work with his colleagues to support a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria.