News / Middle East

US Ponders Possible Action Against Syria

Free Syrian Army fighters run for cover from snipers loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Deir al-Zor, August 23, 2013.
Free Syrian Army fighters run for cover from snipers loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Deir al-Zor, August 23, 2013.
VOA News
A White House official says the U.S. has a "range of options" if it decides to act against Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons.

The official commented on Saturday as President Barack Obama met with his top national security advisers to discuss the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians in a Damascus suburb.

Obama has previously expressed reluctance to any U.S. troop presence in Syria.

However, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has strongly suggested that the U.S. is moving naval forces into place in the region in anticipation of any decision the president may make concerning Syria.

Hagel told reporters Obama has asked the Defense Department for a range of options if he chooses to launch an attack on the Damascus government.

The Pentagon chief was speaking on Friday, a defense official said the U.S. Navy is expanding its presence in the Mediterranean, sending in a fourth warship armed with cruise missiles.

The U.S. and other world powers have been pushing for a United Nations-led investigation of the chemical-weapons allegations, and a top U.N. official arrived in Damascus Saturday to push for access to the site where rockets loaded with poison gas were launched.


A citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen shows Syrian citizens trying to identify dead bodies, after an alleged poison gas attack by government forces.A citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen shows Syrian citizens trying to identify dead bodies, after an alleged poison gas attack by government forces.
x
A citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen shows Syrian citizens trying to identify dead bodies, after an alleged poison gas attack by government forces.
A citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen shows Syrian citizens trying to identify dead bodies, after an alleged poison gas attack by government forces.
The U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs, Angela Kane, is seeking an investigation of the incident. The Syrian government denies that it used any chemical weapons against rebels who have been fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad for more than two years. Many international leaders say they suspect the Syrian government is guilty of using banned chamical weapons, but Russia has spoken out in defense of the Assad regime.

Syrian opposition leaders and activists have released video of large numbers of bodies - many of them young children - that bear no signs of physical violence of blood. Those pictures, and separate scenes from hospitals showing patients writhing in agony without apparent wounds - are said to be persuasive indications that they were victims of a attack that used nerve gas or some other deadly chemical agent.

The government says any blame lies with the rebel side. The state-run SANA news agency reports a number of soldiers suffocated and died Saturday in a Damascus neighborhood where "armed terrorists used chemical weapons."

The news agency said the "terrorists" were engaging in "violent clashes" in the area.

Russia and China have joined the U.S., Francer, Britain and other Western powers in calling for a thorough investigation of the recent events in Syria.

Although Russia was quick to endorse the Syrian government charge that rebels used poison gas on their own supporters, Moscow's foreign ministry also has called on Syria to cooperate with the U.N.

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, has for the first time condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria. State-controlled media in Tehran report he did not assess blame against either side in his comments on Saturday. Iran is Syria's ally, and its foreign ministry has previously said evidence indicates that Syrian rebels launched the attack.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ponderosa
August 25, 2013 3:27 PM
Whilst civillians in Syria have been been dying in large numbers the United Nations has not been decisive enough to take proper and corrective action. The International Court in the Hague should also
have taken action. Collectively they have failed to act promptly as they have also done in Africa, and the humanitarian crises continue.

by: van from: vietnam
August 24, 2013 12:47 PM
Putin has already said noone is allowed to touch Syria. And I believe the US and Nato will never dare to touch Syria. What a shame!
Russia dare to separate Georgia into Ahkadia and Ossestia .Why can’t the US and Nato divide Syria into separated zone, this will lead to the cease of the civil war in Syria.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
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.

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