Obama Says Suspected Chemical Weapon Use in Syria is "Big Event of Grave Concern"
In his first comments on the attack, President Obama called the alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria a "big event of grave concern".
In an interview on CNN Friday, Obama expressed his concern over the situation and said “This is something that is going to require America’s attention.” He also explained the administration's hesitation towards providing a unilateral military response. "If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it," he said. "Those are considerations that we have to take into account."
Obama stressed the importance of considering the longterm national interest when deciding on a response to Syria. He also said that he did not anticipate cooperation from the Syrian government and that the serious allegations will certainly speed up the process of deciding how to react.
Despite hours of meetings to determine how the U.S. should respond to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, officials appear no closer to a decision Friday.
On Thursday, officials from the Pentagon, the State Department and the intelligence agencies met for nearly four hours to hash out their options when it comes to responding to the situation in Syria. According to the New York Times, those options range between cruise missile strikes, and a continued airborne assault.
But the lengthy meetings didn't lead to a resolution. According to officials, the group broke up on Thursday still at odds over whether or not to provide a military response or not.
Obama and his administration have faced criticism for their measured response to the allegations. Previously, Obama had dawdled on the issue of arming Syrian rebels but said that any use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would be stepping over a "red line" that would create a strong reaction from the United States.