President Obama said on Friday that he has not made a final decision on a response to Syria’s chemical weapons use.
Obama said “this kind of offense is a challenge to the world” and that chemical weapons use in Syria threatens U.S. national security interests as well as U.S. allies such as Israel and Jordan.
While Obama hasn’t decided on a response, he said he is looking at limited action, not an open-ended commitment.
Obama’s remarks follow a statement by Secretary of State John Kerry laying out the case for action against Syria.
Kerry said the U.S. has “high confidence” that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons in an Aug.21 attack that killed 1,429 Syrians, including 426 children.
The findings on Syria are “as clear as they are compelling,” Kerry said in a statement.
In laying out the administration’s case against the Bashar Assad regime, Kerry said that the U.S. knows the Syrian government has used chemical weapons multiple times this year, and that the rockets used in the August 21 attack came only from government sites.
He called Assad a “thug and a murderer” and called the attack a “crime against humanity.”
While not saying an attack was imminent, Kerry said what the U.S. chooses to do matters greatly to the country’s security. He also said the U.S. is not alone in its resolve to respond. The U.S. will act on its own timeline, Kerry said, and that any action will not be open-ended.
He said other countries are watching to see if Syria can get away with using chemical weapons.