(Newsroom America) -- Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says the U.S. intelligence community assesses with some degree of varying confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin.
This morning the White House delivered delivered a letter to several members of Congress conveying the assessment.
Speaking to reporters in United Arab Emirates, Mr Hagel said the intelligence community has been assessing information for some time on this issue, and the decision to reach this conclusion was made within the past 24 hours.
"We cannot confirm the origin of these weapons, but we do believe that any use of chemical weapons in Syria would very likely have been originated with the Assad regime.
"As the letter states, the president has made it clear that the use of chemical weapons or the transfer of such weapons to terrorist groups would be unacceptable.
"The United States has an obligation to fully investigate, including with all key partners and allies and through the United Nations, evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria," he said.
Mr Hagel said the intelligence community is still assessing information and are still looking at what happened, who was responsible, and the other specifics that will be needed.
"As to a red line, my role as secretary of defense is to give the president options on a policy issue. That's a policy issue. And we'll be prepared to do that at such time as the president requires options."
He said there were still some uncertainties about what kind of chemical was used, where it was used and who used it.