The United States made clear on Friday, August 31 that it would punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the "brutal and flagrant" chemical weapons attack that it says killed more than 1,400 people in Damascus last week, Reuters said.
"We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale," President Barack Obama told reporters at the White House.
He said the United States was still in the planning process for a "limited, narrow" military response that would not involve "boots on the ground" or be open-ended. He set no timetable for action.
In a sign the United States may be preparing to act, a senior State Department official said Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on Friday to the foreign ministers of Britain, Egypt, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as to the secretary general of the Arab League.
The White House will brief Republican senators on Syria in a conference call on Saturday at the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a spokesman for the senator said.
The timing of the attack, most likely with cruise missiles from five U.S. Navy destroyers already stationed in the eastern Mediterranean, was uncertain, but it had been considered unlikely before UN weapons experts probing evidence from the August 21 attack, left Syria on Saturday.