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Hillary Clinton Backs Obama: 'This Is About Protecting Both the Syrian People and Our Friends in the Region

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"The international community cannot ignore the ongoing threat from the Assad regime's stockpiles of chemical weapons."

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is backing a U.S. military strike in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons against his people. She said Monday that any standing proposal for an international agreement is only made possible by the threat of a U.S. strike.

"It demands a strong response from the international community led by the United States," Clinton said. "The international community cannot ignore the ongoing threat from the Assad regime's stockpiles of chemical weapons. Whether they are used again against Syrian civilians or transferred to Hezbollah, or stolen by other terrorists, this is about protecting both the Syrian people and our friends in the region. The world will have to deal with this threat as swiftly and comprehensively as possible."

Clinton met with Obama at the White House Monday before giving remarks at a White House Forum to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, where she weighed in on the pending military strike against Syria.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks about the situation in Syria after meeting with US President Barack Obama, prior to remarks about US efforts to combat wildlife trafficking at a White House forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC on September 9, 2013. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

"The president and I discussed these challenges today. I will continue to support his efforts and I hope that the Congress will as well," Clinton said.

Congress is currently debating a resolution of what the administration insists will be a limited strike against Assad after the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack that allegedly killed 1,429 Syrians, including 426 children.

She talked about the proposal for international control over the chemical weapons program proposed by Russia and discussed by her successor, Secretary of State John Kerry.

"If the regime immediately surrenders its stockpiles to international control, as was suggested by Secretary Kerry and the Russians, that would be an important step," Clinton said. "But this cannot be another excuse for delay, for obstruction. Russia has to support the international community's efforts or be held to account."

She added, "It is very important to note that this discussion that has taken hold today about potential international control over Syria's stockpiles, only can take place in the context of a credible military threat by the United States to keep pressure on the Syrian government as well as those supporting Syria like Russia."

Watch Clinton's entire address below:

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