Obama meets national security team Friday
A cutout of US President Barack Obama stands on the sidewalk as demonstrators march in protest during a rally against a possible US and allies attack on Syria in response to possible use of chemical weapons by the Assad government, in Lafayette Park in front of the White House in Washington, DC on August 29, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB
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U.S. President Barack Obama met on Friday with his national security team on Syria as the White House said it planned to release an unclassified intelligence report about the use of chemical weapons in Syria last week.
The UK parliament’s vote against a military action on Syria on Thursday has left Obama with only one ally, France, and has put pressure on him as resistance against the move grows in Washington.
Obama appeared undeterred by the UK parliament decision in his desire to punish Syrian leader Bashar Assad, and advisers said he would be willing to retaliate against Syria on his own.
“I don't know of any responsible government around the world ... that has not spoken out in violent opposition to the use of chemical weapons on innocent people,” Hagel said, according to AP.
He said that Washington would continue to seek partners in its Syria mission: “Our approach is to continue to find an international coalition that will act together.”
At home, the White House also appeared determined to rally public support for the mission.
The intelligence report he plans to release on Friday may give Americans more insight into why he has said that his officials have concluded that the Assad government is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb, Reuters reported.
Obama administration officials shared some of the evidence with lawmakers on Thursday and cited intercepted communications from Syrian officials among other details.
Obama and his officials are weighing the options on how to respond to the attack, including a possible missile strike. Obama has said he does not want to get drawn into a protracted conflict, but wants to ensure that chemical weapons are not used again.
There were no immediate details on the time of the release of the intelligence report.
(With Reuters and AP)