US moves forces toward Syria, inquiry continues
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence officials are still trying to determine whether Syria’s government unleashed a deadly chemical weapons attack on its people. At the same time, the Obama administration is preparing for a possible military response by moving naval forces closer to Syria.
President Barack Obama met with his national security team on Saturday. The White House says Obama received a detailed review of the range of options he requested for the U.S. and its international partners to respond if the fact-finding process concludes that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime engaged in chemical warfare.
Obama also discussed the situation in Syria by telephone with British Prime Minister David Cameron. The White House says the two leaders expressed “grave concern” about the reported chemical weapons use, which both of their countries oppose.
The Syrian government denies the claims. It also is warning the U.S. against taking military action, saying such a step would set the Middle East ablaze.
To underscore the regional concern about spillover effects of the Syrian conflict, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is attending a meeting starting Sunday in Jordan with Mideast defense chiefs.