The U.S. authorities have previosuly said that it was unclear whether the deadly chemical weapons attack could be linked to Syrian President Bashar Assad or high officials in his government.
As The Huffington Post reports, President Obama didn’t demonstrated any evidence to confirm his opinion that the Syrian goverment stays behinds the last week’s attack.
While the U.S. president announced that he is still evaluating possible military retaliation, he promised that any American response would send a “strong signal” to Assad.
“We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out,” Obama said during an interview with “NewsHour” on PBS. “And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences.”
However, there were obviousl sings that the timeline for launching any armed attack on Syria could be complicated by the Obama administration’s attempts to communicate with international partners and growing demands for consultation with U.S. lawmakers.
Moreover, Britain – a key player in any air assault on Syria -changed its plans earlier in the day, saying the U.N. Security Council “should see findings from weapons inspectors before any military action is taken and that the British parliament should vote on the matter twice.”
Referring to the Britain’s comments, Obama insisted that while the Syrian government must be punished, he intended to avoid another war in Iraq.
“I have no interest in any open-ended conflict in Syria, but we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable,” Obama admitted.
It was his clearest justification yet for a tough response against the Syrian government, which was accused of having crossed a “red line” for large-scale chemical weapons use. Hundreds of people were killed in a poison gas attack on the capital of the country suburb a week ago.
Meanwhile, Syria’s government, supported by its main arms supplier Russia, cried foul. It blamed rebel “terrorists” for releasing the toxins with the help of the United States, Britain and¬†France, and warned it would be a “graveyard of invaders.”
The chief of Saudi intelligence,¬†reportedly confronted Moscow with a mix of inducements and threats in attempt to break the deadlock over Syria.
‚ÄúLet us examine how to put together a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and production quantities that keep the price stable in global oil markets,‚ÄĚ he said at the private talks with Putin.
‚ÄúWe understand Russia‚Äôs great interest in the oil and gas in the Mediterranean from Israel to Cyprus. And we understand the importance of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe. We are not interested in competing with that. We can cooperate in this area,‚ÄĚ he continued, purporting to speak with the full backing of the US.
However, the Russian president kept mum on the secret offer, though western pressure has escalated since the three-week negotiations.
‚ÄúOur stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters,‚ÄĚ he said, speaking of the footage showing a Jihadist rebel eating the heart and liver of a Syrian soldier.