A U.S. cruise missile attack against Syria seems an increasing likelihood after evidence points to Syria’s government using a deadly chemical weapons attack against rebels.
President Obama met on Saturday with his security officials, discussing the range of options available if its proven that Syria engaged in chemical warfare. Though Obama has cautioned against a quick intervention onto the Syrian civil war, some kind of military action seems likely.
Obama reached out to British Prime Minister David Cameron, the president’s first contact with a foreign leader about Syria. A statement from Cameron’s office said both he and Obama were very concerned about the possibility of chemical warfare being used against the Syrian people.
Cameron’s office added that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s efforts to keep U.N. investigators way from the area suggests he has “something to hide.”
This week there were reports that the Syrian government unleashed a chemical attack in a suburb of Damascus. More than 3,000 people were hospitalized in the attack and close to 355 died, said the international aid group Doctors without Borders.
The Syrian government officially denies the claims. Assad has also warned that foreign intervention in Syria’s civil war would result in chaos in the Middle East.
Reports this weekend said the U.S. was preparing a cruise missile attack against Syria. But it would need approval from President Obama first.
“If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country, without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented,” the president told CNN, “then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it — ‘do we have the coalition to make it work?’ Those are considerations that we have to take into account.”
Experts believe a U.S. cruise missile attack against Syria would not be intended to overthrow Assad, but instead convince him that his use of chemical weapons won’t be tolerated. Such an attack would also allow the U.S. to intervene without actually putting boots on the ground.