News / Middle East

White House: There Will Be Response to Syrian Chemical Attack

US Military 'In Place' for Possible Air Strikes Against Syriai
X
August 28, 2013 10:22 AM
The United States is working to build international support for possible military action in response to last week's chemical weapons attack in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Syria's government denies responsibility for that attack and says it will defend itself with "all means available."
Related video report by Scott Stearns at the State Department.
VOA News
President Barack Obama has decided there will be a response to the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons, and the White House says he is now working with his national security team to determine what it will be.
 
Spokesman Jay Carney says there was "no doubt" that poison gas was used during an August 21 attack in suburban Damascus.

At a Tuesday briefing, Carney said there is very little doubt the Syrian government was responsible for the attack, which he called a "flagrant violation" of international laws.
 
"The president believes that this is a grave transgression and it merits a response," he said. "He will obviously take the time necessary to evaluate the options available to him in deciding upon what is the appropriate response by the United States in consultation with our allies and partners in consultation with leaders in Congress."
 
Carney also said that later this week the U.S. will release an intelligence report on the poison gas attack.
 
MAP: Suspected chemical weapon attack sites, DamascusMAP: Suspected chemical weapon attack sites, Damascus
x
MAP: Suspected chemical weapon attack sites, Damascus
MAP: Suspected chemical weapon attack sites, Damascus
The Syrian government has denied launching any chemical attack and has blamed rebels for last's week strike that left hundreds dead.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, July 31, 2013.Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, July 31, 2013.
x
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, July 31, 2013.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, July 31, 2013.
Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the American military is ready to act against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons. Hagel told the BBC that the U.S. military has "moved assets in place" and will be able to "fulfill and comply" with any option President Obama wishes to take.
 
News reports say the U.S. and several other Western powers are considering a limited, targeted response to Damascus' alleged use of chemical weapons to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
 
A U.N. team is in Syria to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons but its mission was delayed Tuesday due to security concerns.
 
Stephen Zunes, a professor of Middle East studies at the University of San Francisco, says that while there is pressure on the United States to take military action, there are limits to what strikes can accomplish.
 
"The impulse is quite understandable, but on a practical level it does not seem that it would make such a difference in terms of the military balance, given that the rebel forces are divided into literally hundreds of different militia, some of which are as anti-Western or more so than the regime," he said.
 
Michael O'Hanlon, a Brookings Institution foreign policy and security expert, says Obama had been reluctant to step up U.S. engagement in Syria. However, he told Alhurra TV that Assad has pushed the U.S. and the international community "one step too far."
 
"What President Assad has done is to force President Obama to consider options that previously that he had not been willing to consider, and I think President Assad is going to realize that he made a very tragic mistake, not only for the hundreds of people killed but even for the good of his own regime."
 
The U.S. on Tuesday postponed a meeting with Russian officials scheduled for later this week to discuss the situation in Syria.
 
Russia and China have repeatedly blocked actions at the United Nations to impose sanctions on the Syrian government for assaults on the civilian population during the civil war.
 
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane in Idlib province, August 30, 2013.
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, smoke rises after explosives were dropped by a Syrian government warplane in Idlib province, August 30, 2013.
  • In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, U.N. investigators gather potential evidence in a Damascus suburb, August 28, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen shows Syrians moving a man who was allegedly exposed to chemical weapons to show him to U.N. investigators in a Damascus suburb, August 28, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen shows U.N. investigators in a suburb of Damascus, August 28, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons as they escort U.N. vehicles carrying chemical weapons experts at the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb, August 28, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters deploy in Aleppo's town of Khanasir after seizing it, August 26, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters inspect munitions and a tank that belonged to forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after they seized Khanasir, August 26, 2013.
  • A U.N. chemical weapons expert gathers evidence at site of an alleged poison gas attack in a southwestern Damascus suburb, August 26, 2013.
  • An image grab taken from a video posted by Syrian activists purportedly shows a U.N. inspector speaking to a man in a Damascus suburb, August 26, 2013.
  • U.N. chemical weapons experts visit a hospital where wounded people affected by a suspected gas attack are being treated, in a southwestern Damascus suburb, August 26, 2013.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Abnoy
August 27, 2013 10:58 PM
The West, especially America, "treats" patients in psychiatric facilities with neoroleptics from companies like Johnson and Johnson, which are similar in chemical composition to nerve gas and work the same way. The Citizen's Commission on Human Rights has always pointed out this evil from the US government, corporations and its Western allies which have been engaged in this type of torture for decades. What's the difference between Syria and America? They kill and torture people the same way.

by: Anonymous
August 27, 2013 8:51 PM
They should do it as cheaply and with limited loss of life.
I suggest they arm the FSA to take their country from assad, then defend themselves against foreign elements such as al qaeda.

The FSA is the army to arm, and give them what they need to disable assad once and for all. Once assad is gone al qaeda is going to try and swoop in.... FSA needs to defend the country from this.

by: us from: us
August 27, 2013 8:47 PM
So basically there is NO evidence, just speculation and hearsay. We all heard the WMD's story before that was not true. What about the story of spent uranium munitions used by the US, that is contaminating other countries. All we hear is made up propaganda with not much truth behind it.

by: Mon from: Japan
August 27, 2013 7:08 PM
It is very interesting that the US and Al-Qaeda will fight to the ‘common’ enemy, Assad. Obama has a really unique sense to foreign affairs: for example, to Egypt, he supported Mr. Morsi who is a leader of an Islamic fundamentalist group against Israel, consequently, however a civil war happened in Egypt. Obama’s ambivalent actions will lead the world to dismal consequences.

by: van from: vietnam
August 27, 2013 12:06 PM
hey. although we are really hateful for Assad, i think the US, England and France should reserve force, power for a war in east sea with china better. Don't touch Russia. No use.
In Response

by: TONY from: CHN
August 27, 2013 9:55 PM
Who can gather real courage battle with CHN?Vietnam?India?Japan?Even USA?If you're crazy and give it a try.

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
August 27, 2013 11:07 AM
It is unfortunate that President Obama, the Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Secretary of State John Kerry keep on threatening Assad at the same time divulging military preparations on attacking Assad. Secrecy and surprise are the best weapons of any military action. Now the US is stuck with the problem of presence of the UN chemical weapon inspectors inside Syria. Unless the UN inspectors are out of Syria, US is playing a dangerous game of military threat. That give more time for Assad to prepare to defend and the US military operation more difficult.

by: ali baba from: new york
August 27, 2013 10:34 AM
Mr. Hagel. when you were a senator ,you opposed Us involvement. now you change your mind and let us solider get in the middle between two factions and both factions do not like us. our solider would lose their lives because the two thugs will enjoy put road side bomb to kill young people. what you said is insane ,even Basher is is a war criminal and use chemical weapons

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More