On Monday, President Obama warned the beleaguered Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad not to use chemical weapons against its own people.

“Today I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching,” Obama said in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. “The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.”

President Obama’s warning came on the heels of a similar statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and was later echoed by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The warnings came after reports that Syria’s military has prepared binary chemical weapons for use by combining the chemical components needed to weaponize sarin nerve gas and has moved some chemical munitions from storage depots.

According to an anonymous U.S. senior official, “Physically, they’ve gotten to the point where they can load it up on a plane and drop it.”

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