While in London early Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry issued an ultimatum to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Kerry stated that if Assad wanted to avoid a possible U.S. attack on his country, then he would have to turnover his chemical weapon stockpile to international control. While the demand was believed to be an off-the-cuff long shot on the State Department’s part, Secretary Kerry received numerous positive responses to the idea, starting with Syria ally Russia. Shortly after, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem welcomed the idea.
The unexpected developments come just as Congress is returning from recess and President Obama is in his final pushes for approval of action in Syria, despite low public approval.