National Security Brief: Obama Warns Assad On Chemical Weapons

— President Obama warned the Syrian government against using chemical weapons. “The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable,” he said. “If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.”

— A Russian journalist close to Russian officials said they say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has lost hope. “His mood is that he will be killed anyway,” Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of a Russian foreign affairs journal and the head of an influential policy group, said in an interview in Moscow.

— Meanwhile, the AP reports: The United Nations has ordered all of its non-essential international staff to leave Syria, saying Monday that the escalating violence in the civil war-struck country is making it harder and more risky for humanitarian workers to do their jobs.

— As the U.S. renews its push for peace talks with the Taliban, the Senate approved Obama’s choice to be the next top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford.

— The U.S. has denied Iran’s claim that it has captured an American drone in its airspace. “The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the gulf are confined to internationally recognized water and air space,” a spokesman for United States Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain said.

— Obama aslo yesterday called on Russia to renew “a two-decade-old nuclear disarmament program that Moscow has threatened to cancel as the two sides try to figure out the future of a rocky relationship now that elections in both countries are behind them.”

(Photo: Getty)