President Obama is considering a strike on Syrian military targets involving sea-launched cruise missiles or
possibly long-range bombersthat would last no more than two days, according to senior administration officials and
reported by Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan of The Washington Post.
Reuters reports that the West has told the opposition to expect a strike “within days.”
The limited strike would seemingly be a response to allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own people before dawn on August 21. Hundreds were killed and thousands suffered “neurotoxic symptoms.”
The design of the potential attack implies sending a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad without becoming entrenched in the 29-month conflict.
On Monday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said: “There is a reason why President Obama has made clear to the Assad regime that this international norm [of chemical weapons use] cannot be violated without consequences.”
The Post notes that the targets would not be directly related to Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal and would probably include key government buildings in the capital and various perhaps airfields.
The decision for the strikes is reportedly contingent on an intelligence assessment of Syrian government culpability in last week’s alleged chemical attack; consultation with allies and Congress; and a consideration of justification under international law.
Fox News confirmed that four U.S. Navy destroyers are being pre-positioned in the nearby Mediterranean Sea, and on Monday evening CNN reported that a strike could take place “within hours” were Obama to give the order.
Here’s a look, courtesy of the Institute of The Study of War, at the likely weapons that would be used in a cruise missile strike, namely Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM):
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.