Inhofe responds to reports of Syrian chemical weapon use

U.S. President Barack Obama must develop a plan to stop the violence and the use of chemical weapons by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said on Thursday.

Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made the statement in response to allegations that al-Assad's regime used chemical weapons against its own people.

"President Assad's use of chemical weapons against his own people clearly crosses the 'red line' established by President Obama," Inhofe said. "This marks a significant turning point in what's already been a tragic two years that has left over 70,000 dead and forced millions more to flee their homes. Without American leadership, Iran and Russian will eagerly fill the vacuum."

Inhofe said President Obama must act quickly or many will suffer and the U.S. will lose its influence in the Middle East.

"It's more important now than ever that President Obama finally steps up and fulfills his constitutional duty as the commander-in-chief to lead," Inhofe said. "It's time that he come forward with a plan that will help stem the violence and demonstrate to Assad that his barbaric actions will have consequences. Continued inaction by the President, after laying out a clear redline, will only embolden Assad and his benefactors in Tehran to continue their brutal assault against the Syrian people. Every day that the President fails to lead, the situation will become more dire, thousands more will suffer, and American influence in the region will continue to diminish."