29 August, 2013

President Obama 'sure Syria behind chemical attack'

President Obama 'sure Syria behind chemical attack'-BBC
President Obama told the Public Broadcasting Service strike would send a "strong signal"
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US President Barack Obama says the US has concluded that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attacks near Damascus.

He said the use of chemical weapons affected US national interests and sending a "shot across the bows" could have a positive impact on Syria's war.

But in the interview with PBS, said he had not yet made a decision about whether to intervene militarily.

His comments follow a day of behind-the-scenes wrangling at the UN.

The UK had been pushing for permanent members of the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution which would have authorised measures to protect civilians in Syria.

However, Syrian ally Russia refused to agree to the resolution and the meeting produced no end to the diplomatic stalemate which has long characterised the UN position on Syria.

The US State Department criticised "Russian intransigence" and said it could not allow diplomatic paralysis to serve as a shield for the Syrian leadership.

Critics have questioned what purpose a limited strike on Syria could serve, but Mr Obama said it would send the government of Bashar al-Assad "a pretty strong signal that it better not do it [use chemical weapons] again".

The US has yet to produce the intelligence it says shows Mr Assad's government is guilty of using chemical weapons, and UN weapons inspectors are still investigating inside Syria.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said they need four more days to complete their investigations.

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