Obama Prepares to Move on Syria

U.S. military readies for action in Syria.


An opposition fighter fires an rocket propelled grenade on August 26, 2013 during clashes with regime forces in Syria. The White House has promised to respond to escalating violence and an alleged chemical attack in the country.

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The Obama administration again condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons Tuesday, vowing that action would be taken in response to the August 21 attack.

[READ: Chuck Hagel Says U.S. 'Ready to Go' on Syria]

Some in the international community, including France, Great Britain and members of the Arab League Council also called for action to be taken against the Syrian regime.

"There must be a response," said White House spokesman Jay Carney during his daily briefing. "We cannot allow this kind of violation of an international norm with all the attendant grave consequences that it represents to go unanswered. What form that response will take is what [President Barack Obama] is assessing now with his team."

Carney's remarks follow an interview by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel where he declared the U.S. ready for action and a press briefing Monday by Secretary of State John Kerry where he termed the chemical attack "undeniable" and made the humanitarian case for a move against Assad.

While Russian officials insist there's no evidence Assad was responsible for any chemical weapons attacks, many other world leaders are siding with the United States.

"The president himself, as we've read out to you, has had consultations with Canadian Prime Minister Harper today, and in recent days with British Prime Minister Cameron, French President Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Rudd," Carney said. "And I would anticipate that the president will continue to make calls to his counterparts throughout the week."

The Arab League, led by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, also issued a statement Tuesday laying blame for the chemical attack on the Syrian government.

[PHOTOS: Alleged Gas Attack in Damascus, Syria]

"[Assad's regime is] fully responsible for the ugly crime and demands that all the perpetrators of this heinous crime be presented for international trials," the statement said according to reports. Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria – also members of the Arab League – all withheld support for the condemnation, however.

The White House made clear that any action would not include American soldiers entering Syria to overthrow Assad, though.

"It is our firm belief that Bashar al-Assad has long since forsaken any legitimacy that he might have to lead, and that Syria's future must be one that is without Assad in power," Carney said. "But that is a process that has to take place through negotiation. And we will continue to engage in all of the many ways that we have in an effort to bring about that reconciliation."

Obama is expected to make a formal decision in the coming days.

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