US President repeats intention to avoid “open-ended” action and rules out “boots on the ground” approach.
US President Barack Obama has said he is considering a limited military operation in a specific response to last week’s deadly gas attack, which the US said killed at least 1,429 people.
“This kind of attack is a challenge to the world. We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale,” Obama told reporters following a meeting with Estonian, Lithuanian and Latvian presidents.
Obama said he had not yet made his final decision, and would acknowledge there could not be a “solely military solution” in Syria.
He said the attack threatens US interests and allies in the region, including Turkey, and amplifies the risk that chemical weapons may be used in the future and fall into the hands of terrorists.
“The world has an obligation to make sure that we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons,” Obama said.
Obama’s remarks come half an hour after US Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for a military strike and announced the release of unclassified intelligence information on the chemical weapons attack.
– No “boots-on-the-ground”
US President said he directed his team and the US army to explore a “wide range of options,” while continuing to consult with US allies and the Congress.
“In no event are we considering any kind of military action that would involve boots on the ground, that would involve a long-term campaign,” Obama said.
“What we will do is consider options that meet the narrow concern around chemical weapons, understanding that there is not going to be a solely military solution to the underlying conflict and tragedy that’s taking place in Syria.”