Congress is taking up the debate over whether to intervene militarily in Syria this week, but a “rhetorical” comment from US Secretary of State John Kerry may have set the stage for de-escalation. When asked by a reporter if there was anything that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could do to avert US military strikes, Mr. Kerry replied: “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week – turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting [of it], but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done.”
But now, both Syria and Russia seem focused on making that idea a reality. On Monday, Russia’s foreign minister encouraged Assad to relinquish control of all chemical weapons to the United Nations so that they can be destroyed. Syria’s foreign minister responded publicly Tuesday by saying that the country “welcomes the Russian proposal out of concern for the lives of the Syrian people, the security of our country and because it believes in the wisdom of the Russian leadership that seeks to avert American aggression against our people.” George Lopez, professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, joins Worldview to assess the latest turn of events. (Photo: AP Images).