White House releases report detailing Syria chemical attack

12:11 AM, Aug 31, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (USA Today) -- President Obama said Friday he is considering a "limited, narrow act" as a military response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens.

Calling it "a challenge to the world," Obama said the use of chemical weapons threatens U.S. national security and merits a response.

READ | US government 4-page report with chemical weapons evidence
FULL COVERAGE | Syrian crisis

"We're not considering any open-ended commitment," the president said. "We're not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach."

Obama emphasized that he still has not made any decisions about what actions the U.S. will take.

"We have consulted with allies," he said. "We have consulted with Congress."

Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the U.S. has evidence the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, as the White House released a four-page report summarizing their case against the Bashar Assad regime.

Kerry said the administration is releasing an intelligence report today laying out their evidence. Proving this allegation is considered a threshold that the U.S. would use to justify a potential military strike on that country.

"I'm not asking you to take my word for it," Kerry said. "Read for yourselves the verdict reached by our intelligence community" that the government of Syria was responsible for the attack.

The intelligence community believes with "high confidence" that Assad government used chemical weapons in Damascus suburbs based on human sources as well as intercepts of conversations by senior Syrian officials, according to the report and Kerry.

With the release of the unclassified intelligence report and a telephone briefing for lawmakers on Thursday evening, the White House looked to bolster the case for taking action against Assad even as objections to a military strike continue to mount in the U.S. and with the nation's closest ally, Britain, to taking military action.

Obama was also given a bolt of international backing on Friday, when President François Hollande of France on Friday announced his support for international military action against the Syrian government.

On Thursday, the British parliament voted to reject taking military action in Syria, even the government published an intelligence document that detailed how it concluded the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attacks on the outskirts of Damascus last week.


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