- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday outlined for members of Congress potential targets for a limited U.S. attack on Syria, including those “directly linked to the control of chemical weapons.”

Testifying before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said that U.S. strikes would not risk the loss of security of Syria’s chemical weapons but would aim to hobble their delivery systems. Other potential targets include Syria’s air defenses, missiles and rockets that protect the chemical weapons, he said. 

“That target package is still being refined as I sit here with you,” Gen. Dempsey told the committee.

He also confirmed that President Bashar Assad’s regime is moving its military assets in anticipation of a U.S. strike and is placing prisoners and other non-combatants in places the regime the U.S. might target.

“At this point our intelligence is keeping up with that movement,” the general said, adding that though he cannot “drive the risk of escalation to zero,” U.S. forces are postured for any retaliation.

Gen. Dempsey said he believes a U.S. military strike on the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21 would be “effective” to achieve the president’s limited goal to degrade and deter the possibility of a future attack.

The Joint Chiefs chairman testified Wednesday with Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

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