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U.S. rules out troops to secure chemical weapons

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 9:06 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The United States has largely ruled out sending in ground troops to secure Syrian chemical weapons under hostile circumstances, but the Pentagon could provide some forces if the Assad regime ever agrees to a peaceful transition, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged that it will be nearly impossible to prevent the Syrian government from using its chemical weapons, so the United States must rely on deterrence and continue warning Syria that using them would be unacceptable.

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