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President Obama said he has not made a decision yet about launching a military intervention in Syria, but said the administration believed the Syrian opposition could not have carried out the recent chemical attacks. He also said the administration wants to make sure that terrorists do not get their hands on Syria's weapons and turn them on the US. The US is said to be considering a series of strikes lasting more than one day, but not aimed at a prolonged war. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan was sentenced to death for killing 13 people and injuring 32 others in a mass shooting at Fort Hood in 2009.
The White House said it is not contemplating "regime change" in Syria but rather responding to a violation of an international prohibition against the use of chemical weapons. Newly disclosed intelligence, obtained in part through Israeli sources, has helped convince US officials that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in a mass attack on Aug. 21; the Director of National Intelligence is preparing a report for release possibly on Thursday. Leading members of Congress, which is currently out of session, have been informed of the administration's plans for a military intervention in Syria.
Secretary of State Kerry said the US had "little doubt" that chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime in Damascus last week, and castigated the regime for "cynically attempt[ing]" to destroy evidence. He said the US has "additional information" to support its charges, which the US will produce in the coming days. US officials reportedly claimed that the type of rocket used in the attack was solely in the possession of regime forces. The US is considering limited long-range missile strikes against Syrian military and intelligence command and control sites and other regime targets, to "deter and degrade" the regime's capability to deploy chemical weapons.
The Obama administration is said to be preparing military options and legal justification for a possible intervention in Syria with or without UN backing, having assessed that "there is very little doubt at this point that a chemical weapon was used by the Syrian regime against civilians" in Damascus on Aug. 21. The US dismissed Syria's decision to allow UN inspectors into the area of the alleged recent strike as "too late to be credible." The UN inspection team had arrived in Syria on Aug. 18 to investigate prior reports of chemical weapons use in the country, including Syria's request in March for a UN investigation into possible chemical weapons use by rebels at Khan al-Assal. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held an emergency meeting in Jordan with defense chiefs from 10 nations to discuss regional security implications of the ongoing crisis in Syria.