President Barak Obama told reporters on Monday that any use of chemical or biological weapons in Syria would be a “red line” for his administration, prompting direct military intervention in the civil conflict in Syria.
“The red line for us is if we start seeing a bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” Obama, speaking in a surprise appearance at the White House press conference Monday, said. “That would change my calculus.”
So far, the calculus has been to support the disorganized, unpopular, criminal and terrorist rebel groups trying to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad, but to hold back on any direct military engagement inside Syria.
“We are monitoring the situation very carefully, and have put together a range of contiengency plans and communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that is a red line for us,” Obama said.
Some of those other players, including Turkey, seem to be pressuring the administration towards direct military intervention or at least a no fly zone. Current policies in place remain the administration’s official approach, although the President did authorize increased humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees.