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Obama vows 'limited, narrow' strikes on Syria

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-31 16:22

Obama vows 'limited, narrow' strikes on Syria

US President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about Syria to reporters during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington August 30, 2013. Seated with Obama are Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite (C) and Vice President Joe Biden (R). [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama said Friday the United States was considering "limited, narrow" military strikes on Syria but he set no timetable for action.

Obama said he was considering a "limited narrow act" in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict, in remarks made before a meeting with three Baltic leaders at the White House.

"I have not made a final decision about various actions that might be taken to help enforce that norm," He said. "But as I've already said, I have had my military and our team look at a wide range of options."

Obama also ruled out "boots on the ground" or a long-term campaign. "We're not considering any open-ended commitment," He said. "We're not considering any boots on the ground approach."

Earlier in the day, the White House released an unclassified US intelligence report, which concluded with "high confidence" that Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons multiple times last year, including the August 21 attack in Damascus suburbs.

Obama and his administration officials have said time and again that the Syrian government must be held accountable for its violation of the international norm against the use of banned weapons.

The US president pledged continued consultations with Congress, as some lawmakers are urging him to seek Congressional authorization for action against Syria.

Meanwhile, UN experts tasked with investigating the alleged chemical-weapons attack last week outside Damascus arrived in Lebanon from Syria on Saturday morning.

The team is due to report back immediately to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who has appealed to the West to allow time for their findings to be addressed.

US allies are divided on the possible military attack on Syria. British lawmakers voted against any involvement in military action while France has signaled it would join the United States in carrying out such strikes.

Russia, however, insisted that any decisions on Syria should be made with UN mandate.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday urged a cautious and responsible attitude towards the major issue concerning war and peace during telephone talks with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

Wang said establishing the facts about whether chemical weapons have been used in Syria and who have used them is the prerequisite for any actions.

 

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