President Barack Obama said on Friday that the U.S. military and his security team are looking at a “wide range of options” on how to respond to a chemical attack in Syria.
But he also added that any action would not involve sending troops or waging a long-term campaign.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who spoke earlier, said a U.S. intelligence report assessed with “high confidence” that Syria’s government planned and launched last week’s chemical weapons attack which killed 1,429 people.
He cited evidence including video footage of the dead with no visible wounds.
“We know that the Assad regime has the largest chemical weapons program in the entire Middle East,” Kerry said.
“We know that the regime has used these weapons multiple times this year and has used them on a smaller scale. It has used them against its own people including not very far from where the Aug. 21 attack happened.
Britain’s parliament voted against joining a coalition sought by Obama to respond militarily, denying the president a key NATO ally which has steadfastly supported previous campaigns.
Other European allies support action against Syria but want the United Nations to lead the effort, something Kerry said would not happen because of opposition by Russia, a permanent security council member and Syrian ally.