Conflict & Justice

Obama Administration Moves Toward Intervention in Syria as People Prepare for the Worst

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Credit: REUTERS

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about the situation in Syria at the State Department in Washington, August 30, 2013. Kerry on Friday made a broad case for limited U.S. military action against Syria for its suspected use of chemical weapons, saying it could not go unpunished for such a "crime against humanity." REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX131R1

"These are facts."

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the audio to hear it.)

That's how John Kerry described the details of a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government outside of Damascus last week, during a forceful 20-minute speech in Washington, DC.

"Mindful of the Iraq experience," Kerry said US intelligence officials can now say with "high confidence" that Bashar Al-Assad's government carried out the attack that killed at least 1,429 Syrians, including at least 426 children.

Kerry conceded that United Nations weapons inspectors will not determine conclusively who exactly carried out the recent attack. But he did not mince words when it came to Syria's president. Kerry called Bashar al-Assad a "thug and a murderer."

Kerry said the US and the international community now face a choice of historic consequence.

"So the primary question is really no longer, 'what do know?' The question is, 'what are we'–we collectively–'what are we in the world going to do about it?'"

About the time that Kerry began speaking at the State Department, the White House released an unclassified version of its intelligence assessment on the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons.

In brief comments today, President Obama said he has yet to make a final decision about possible US intervention in Syria. But he said his administration is considering "limited" and "narrow" action.

To get one view from the Syrian capital of Damascus, The World's Marco Werman spoke with opposition activist Amer Al-Sadeq.

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