Washington, DC -- The Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) today applauded President Barack Obama's pledge to hold the Assad regime accountable for its use of chemical weapons on civilian populations in Syria, and to support the moderate Syrian opposition. In an address to the nation, the President said that Assad's use of chemical weapons presented a danger to America's security, and that failure to respond would embolden other tyrants and also endanger American allies.

SEE: Obama says Syria chemical weapons use endangers US security - NBC

While it is too early to judge the reported Russian proposal on controlling Assad's chemical weapons capabilities, such a proposal became possible only because of the credible threat that the United States would use military force. That is why the US and its allies must pursue an enforceable Security Council resolution at the UN. And if and when a vote eventually comes before Congress, Members must act to give the US President the necessary authority to act if the regime fails to comply with its international obligations.

The United States, the international community and the UN must not let such a possible proposal be used as a delaying device that Assad can use to stall for time while he continues to attack Syria's civilian population. Given the regime's history, CDS remains deeply skeptical that the Assad regime will in fact honor and adequately implement such an agreement.

The UN must send a message not only to Bashar al-Assad, but also to other tyrants and terrorists throughout the world that chemical weapons are a crime against humanity and will not be tolerated. Allies in the region are directly threatened by continued instability in Syria and the mass refugee exodus. Allies in the region are directly threatened by continued instability in Syria and the mass refugee exodus. Our allies are watching closely to see the U.S. stand up for these rights and live up to its security commitments as the strongest and most capable military in the world. Our enemies are also watching - Iran, North Korea, Al Qaeda - to see how serious the US will be in reacting to the use of these evil weapons and the direct threats to her allies.

The chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime on August 21, 2013 killed more than 1,400 people in the suburbs of Damascus, mostly women and children. There are now over 100,000 dead and 7 million civilians displaced including one million child refugees, according to the UN.

CDS also welcomes President Obama's strong statement that the US must support the moderate Syrian opposition. The Syrian Coalition and the Supreme Military Council represent the will of the Syrian people and their best hope for a peaceful and democratic future for Syria. Robust and deliberate support for these moderate opposition forces is necessary not only to push the regime to a negotiated transition, but also to stem the spread of extremists and other elements who do not act for or in the interests of all Syrians.

The Coalition for a Democratic Syria is a group of Syrian-American non-profit organizations working together to bring about a swift end to the conflict and support the establishment of peace, freedom, and democracy in Syria. The CDS is a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, non-partisan organization. The CDS includes: Syrian Emergency Task Force, United for Free Syria, Syrian American Council, Syrian American Alliance, Syrian Expatriates Organization, Syrian Christians for Democracy, and Association of Free Syrians.


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