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Pentagon disavows Hagel’s claims on Russian supplies of chemical weapons to Syria

September 05, 2013, 3:36 UTC+3

Secretary Hagel was referring to the well-known conventional arms relationship between Syria and Russia

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WASHINGTON, September 5 (Itar-Tass) - U.S. Department of Defense has been compelled to disavow the public assertions of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russia is supplying chemical weapons to Syria.

“Secretary Hagel was referring to the well-known conventional arms relationship between Syria and Russia,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said Wednesday after the completion of Congressional hearing on Syria. “The Syrian regime has a decades-old largely indigenous chemical weapons program.”

As Hagel addressed foreign affairs committee hearings in the House of Representatives, he was asked by house member Joe Wilson, a representative for South Carolina, where the weapons came from.

“There’s no secret that the Assad regime has had chemical weapons, significant stockpiles of chemical weapons,” Hagel said.

When Wilson asked if they originated in a specific country, the Secretary of Defense answered: "The Russians supply them, others are supplying them with those chemical weapons, they make some themselves.”

George Little claimed in this connection that “currently, Russia provides the Syrian regime a wide variety of military equipment and support, some of which can be modified or otherwise used to support the chemical weapons program.”

“We have publicly and privately expressed our concern over the destabilizing impact on the Syrian conflict and the wider region of continued military shipments to the Assad regime,” he said.

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