White House says U.S. military pressure led to diplomatic opening

The credible threat of U.S. military force led to the recent diplomatic opening in Syria, the White House said on Wednesday.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, made the remarks on Wednesday during a press briefing. When asked about the pressure and threat of a military strike in Syria, Carney said the recently proposed plan to have chemical weapons removed from Syrian control would not have been possible without U.S. pressure.

"There is no question that the credible threat of U.S. military force brought us this diplomatic opening," Carney said. "Until two days ago, Syria did not even acknowledge that it possessed chemical weapons. We have seen more cooperation and helpful activity on this matter from the Russians in the last two days than we've seen in the last two years."

Carney said it was clear that the progress made was the result of President Obama's forceful comments about the need to hold Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable for using chemical weapons against his own people.

When asked what would occur if Assad gave up his chemical weapons, Carney said the U.S. would continue its support of the Syrian opposition.

"So the fact of the matter is we support the Syrian opposition," Carney said. "We provide support to the military opposition. We provide substantial humanitarian support to the Syrian people. And we will continue to do that moving forward."