Syria has some 1,000 tonnes chemical agents: Kerry

Syria has some 1,000 tonnes chemical agents: Kerry

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Syria has some 1,000 tonnes chemical agents: Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, (L) accompanied by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, testifies before the House Armed Services Committee hearing on the proposed authorization to use military force in Syria, Sept. 10. AP photo

Syra has stockpiled about 1,000 tonnes of numerous chemical agents including sarin and mustard gases, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sept. 10.

Kerry told U.S. lawmakers that some of the agents were unmixed "binary components" while others were probably stored in tanks.

He also said that President Barack Obama may want to talk to leaders of the U.S. Congress about "when and how" to act on his request for authorization for limited strikes on Syria.

"Nothing has changed with respect to our request for the Congress to take action with respect to this," Kerry told a congressional hearing, when asked about diplomatic developments.

"As to when and how, that's something the president may want to chat with the leadership about," he said.

Kerry also said the proposed military action was not aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but it would hurt his military capacity and press him to negotiate.

"While it is not the primary objective of the strike, there clearly will be a downstream impact on his military capacity," Kerry said.

The combined pressure on al-Assad of degrading Syria's military and stepping up support for anti-government rebels would "bring him to the negotiating table," he added.