and allied intelligence agencies have made a preliminary assessment that
chemical weapons were used by Syrian forces in an attack near this week, likely with high-level
approval from the government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to
American and European security sources. Damascus
The early intelligence finding could increase pressure for action by President Barack Obama, who made clear that he planned to tread cautiously even as his aides sought to narrow their differences in debate over possible military responses to the Syrian government.
But with a mounting international outcry over the apparent mass poisoning of hundreds of people, the issue appeared to have taken on a sense of urgency for the Obama administration.
In his first public comments since Wednesday's attack in the
Obama called the incident a "big event of grave concern" and one that
demanded U.S. attention, but
said he was in no rush to get war-weary Americans "mired" in another Middle East conflict.
Obama's wary response, which underscored a deep reluctance by
intervene in Syria's
2-1/2-year-old civil war, came as senior U.S. officials weighed choices
ranging from increased international sanctions to the use of force, including
possible air strikes on Assad's forces, administration sources said.
The Syrian government denies being responsible and has in the past accused rebels of using chemical weapons, an allegation that Western officials have dismissed.
CROSSING THE 'RED LINE'
While the preliminary U.S. assessment was that Assad loyalists carried out Wednesday's attack with high-level authorization, one U.S. source closely monitoring events in the region said it was also possible that a local commander decided on his own to use gas to clear the way for a ground assault.
"What we've seen indicates that this is clearly a big event, of grave concern," Obama said in an interview on CNN's "New Day" program that aired on Friday, as anti-Assad rebels braved the front lines around
Damascus to smuggle tissue samples to U.N.
inspectors from victims of Wednesday's apparent mass poisoning
Experts said previously when Assad is cornered he would chemical weapons. It has been testing here and there bit and bits, see what international community reaction, well they didn’t do anything so far so Assad thinking this is another testing it is bit bigger, and next time will be tens of thousand people would be killed. There is no doubt that Assad’s authorization for gassing 2000 people to kill, a local commend can not used chemical weapon just for pressures. Do not believed what Assad says he is a lair.