Obama says world cannot stand by on Syria

2013-08-30 22:46
(Photo: AFP)

(Photo: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington -President Barack Obama insisted on Friday that war weariness could not excuse world powers from their duty to respond to the gassing to death of hundreds of Syrian women and children.

While noting that he had made no "final decision" on striking Syria to punish Bashar al-Assad's regime, he gave his clearest indication yet that the United States would indeed act.

His remarks came after the United States released an intelligence report expressing "high confidence" that the regime had launched a chemical onslaught in the suburbs of Damascus that killed 1 429 people, including at least 426 children, last week.

"This kind of attack is a challenge to the world," Obama said in brief remarks to reporters at the White House.

"We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale," he said, calling the attack a threat to US "national security interests.

"I have said before, and I meant what I said, that the world has an obligation to make sure we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons," he said, slamming the "incapacity" of the UN Security Council to act.

Obama said his administration and the military were looking at a "wide range of options" but had ruled out "boots on the ground" or a "long-term campaign.

"We are looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act," he said.

France gave its backing to the US plans, but British lawmakers voted against any involvement in military action and other close allies including Germany said they would not sign up.


Russia, Syria's most powerful ally, has meanwhile questioned US intelligence on the 21 August gas attacks and has warned against any military strikes without UN backing.

In Damascus, UN experts completed their investigation into the attacks east of the capital and said they would "expedite" a report on whether chemical weapons had been used there.

The team is due to leave the war-battered country on Saturday and report back immediately to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who has appealed to the West to allow time for their findings to be assessed.

US Secretary of State John Kerry cited "multiple streams of intelligence" indicating that the Syrian government had carried out the attack and that Assad himself is the "ultimate decision maker" for the country's chemical weapons program.

Kerry said failure to act would not only erode the nearly century-old norm against the use of chemical weapons, but would embolden Syrian allies Iran and Hezbollah.
Gruesome pictures of some of the reported victims of the attacks, including children, have shocked the world and piled on the pressure for a response that could draw a reluctant West into the vicious Syrian civil war.

But Russia and Iran, and even some US allies have warned against any intervention, saying it risked sparking a wider conflict.

Divisions over Syria have further chilled the frosty relations between Washington and Moscow ahead of the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg next week, where pointedly there will be no face-to-face talks between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Read more on:    us  |  syria conflict

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.