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When testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Hagel was asked where Syria’s chemical weapons came from, and responded: “Well, the Russians supply them, others are supplying them with those chemical weapons. They make some themselves.”
When pressed on the issue, a Pentagon spokesperson clarified Hagel’s remarks Wednesday evening with this statement:
"In a response to a member of Congress, Secretary Hagel was referring to the well-known conventional arms relationship between Syria and Russia. The Syrian regime has a decades-old largely indigenous chemical weapons program. Currently, Russia provides the Syrian regime a wide variety of military equipment and support, some of which can be modified or otherwise used to support the chemical weapons program. We have publicly and privately expressed our concern over the destabilizing impact on the Syrian conflict and the wider region of continued military shipments to the Assad regime."