Despite reports to the contrary, President Obama hasn’t made a decision on intervening in Syria. However, the US president did confirm that the US government believes Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, is to blame for the attack.
Obama made the comments on Wednesday in an interview with PBS’ NewsHour following his speech to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
USA Today reports that the US president explained, “I have not made a decision,” when asked about Syria. He went on to explain, “I have gotten options from our military, had extensive discussions with my national security team.”
Obama explained that he believes it is important, should an attack happen, that “the Assad regime, which is involved in a civil war, trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal that in fact, it better not do it again.”
He also explained that, based on the evidence, the US doesn’t believe that the opposition possessed “chemical weapons of that sort.” The question of intervention in Syria has been brewing for more than a year, though the conflict initially broke out in March 2011.
CBS News notes that President Obama isn’t the only US senior official to say President Assad’s regime was responsible for the latest attack. Vice President Joe Biden echoed the sentiment on Tuesday, saying, that there is “no doubt” the Syrian government was to blame.
And President Obama also stated last year that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “red line” for US involvement. While there have been a few reported chemical weapons attacks in the country this year, the incident on August 21 was the largest.
While UN inspectors are still at the reported site of the attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that more than 300 people were killed and 3,000 others were injured in the early morning attack.
While President Obama hasn’t made a decision on what to do in Syria, there are reports swirling that a cruise missile attack is expected in the coming days.