Obama, Kerry indicate attack on Syria imminent
Washington: Indicating that an attack on Syria is imminent, US President Barack Obama has said that a possible military strike would be limited with "no boots on the ground".
"We're not considering any open ended commitment. We're not considering any boots on the ground approach," Obama told reporters yesterday but emphasised that he has "not made any decisions" about what actions the US will take.
"We have consulted with allies. We have consulted with Congress," Obama said after Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that the US is preparing to go it alone on Syria.
He said that whatever the US does, it would not be a "major operation".
"I have said before, and I meant what I said, that the world has an obligation to make sure that we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons," he said.
Emerging out of a situation room meeting headed by President Obama, Kerry confirmed that the US would not seek approval of the UN Security Council for an attack because of the opposition from Russia on the use of military force.
"Because of the guaranteed Russian obstructionism of any action through the UN Security Council, UN cannot galvanise the world to act as it should. So let me be clear. We will continue talking to the Congress, talking to our allies, and most importantly, talking to the American people," Kerry said.
Syrian opposition and the West have accused President Bashar Al-Assad of using chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb killing hundreds of people, a charge denied by the government.
Kerry claimed an August 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus killed at least 1,429 Syrians, 426 of them children.
He called Syrian President "a thug and a murderer" and pledged that the US response "will not involve any boots on the ground and it will not be open ended."
"We have a President who does what he says that he will do. And he has said, very clearly, that whatever decision he makes in Syria it will bear no resemblance to Afghanistan, Iraq or even Libya," Kerry said.