Washington (August 23, 2013) - Senator Edward J. Markey (DMass.), Chairman of the International Development Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement in response to the reported chemical weapons attack in Syria this week.

"I am deeply troubled by reports that the Syrian government has carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack against its own people. Images from Syria show that this is a true tragedy, and I have the deepest sympathy for the innocent people affected by the crisis."

"It is crucial that the United Nations investigative team currently on the ground in Syria be fully protected and given unimpeded access to all of the affected areas. The international community must know that truth about what has occurred so a proper response can be considered. If these accusations are confirmed, it would be a crime against humanity."

"The time has long passed for President Assad to step aside and for the people of Syria to determine their own destiny. President Assad and his cohorts must be held accountable for their actions."