President Barack Obama said in an afternoon statement Friday that he is considering a “limited, narrow act” of military response in Syria, and said that its government’s chemical-weapons attack is a “challenge to the world,” according to a White House pool report.
“We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale,” Obama said.
Obama said that he has not yet made a final decision on how to proceed. He said that his military had provided a range of options.
“We’re not considering any open ended commitment. We’re not considering any boots on the ground approach,” Obama said, according to the pool report.
Obama made the brief statement during a meeting with three world leaders — President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania, and President Andris Bērziņš of Latvia. Vice President Joe Biden also was at the meeting.
Obama’s remarks after Secretary of State John Kerry’s blistering statement earlier this afternoon, during which he called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “thug” and “murderer” and said he must be held accountable for a chemical-weapons attack earlier this month.
The White House also released a declassified report detailing with “high confidence” the assessment that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against its people. According to the report, the chemical-weapons attack killed 1,429 people, including 426 children.
“We intercepted communications involving a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21 and was concerned with the U.N.inspectors obtaining evidence,” the report read.
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