Lawmakers: Syria chemical weapons could menace US

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WASHINGTON — Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons could be a greater threat after that nation’s president leaves power and could end up targeting Americans at home, lawmakers warned Sunday as they considered a U.S. response that stops short of sending military forces there.

U.S. officials last week declared that the Syrian government probably had used chemical weapons twice in March, newly provocative acts in the 2-year civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more. The U.S. assessment followed similar conclusions from Britain, France, Israel and Qatar — key allies eager for a more aggressive response to the Syrian conflict.

President Barack Obama has said Syria’s likely action — or the transfer of President Bashar Assad’s stockpiles to terrorists — would cross a “red line” that would compel the United States to act.

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