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Commander warns of substantial Syrian chemical, biological weapons; escalating Iran threat
WASHINGTON (AP) ' The top U.S. commander in the Middle East is warning against efforts to scale back the Navy's presence in the embattled region, saying threats from Iran and elsewhere will require more ships and maritime missile defense capabilities.
Marine Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, is also telling Congress that Syria has a "substantial" chemical and biological weapons capability and thousands of shoulder-launched missiles. Until now, the U.S. military has largely declined to describe the weapons that President Bashar Assad's (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) regime has at its disposal.
Mattis laid out his concerns in testimony prepared for Senate and House Armed Services Committee hearings this week. The testimony was obtained by The Associated Press.
The Obama administration is meeting with Israeli leaders to discuss the escalating Iranian threat.