US President Barack Obama is "repeatedly evaluating" his policy options on Syria, the White House has said, ruling out sending troops on the ground to the strife-torn country.
"President has been evaluating his policy options on Syria repeatedly for some time. There are a number of issues - the use, potentially, of chemical weapons by the Assad regime and the need to build on the evidence that we have already accumulated, that that in fact has taken place," the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters at his daily news conference on Tuesday.
"Then there is the issue of how best to achieve our policy goal, which is a negotiated political settlement to an authority in Syria that can provide security and stability; that can protect the rights of all Syrians," he said.
"So that's the policy goal that we have as a nation, a policy goal we have with our allies and partners on this issue, and then we evaluate the options available to us in a very challenging situation based on whether or not they will bring us closer or inadvertently move us further away from achievement of that policy goal," Carney said.
The President, he said, is reassessing those options.
"One of the options that he has not taken off the table and that we continue to assess is the potential of providing arms to the opposition. We already have provided an enormous amount of assistance to both the Syrian people, through humanitarian assistance, as well as to the opposition. But we evaluate every other option," he said.
"The one exception to that, although all options remain on the table, is the President has made clear that he does not foresee a circumstance where we would have American boots on the ground in Syria," Carney said.
Noting that the situation in Syria is serious and it continues to deteriorate, the US official said that is of great concern to the President and to everyone with an interest in Syria and the region. "We continue to discuss this with our allies and partners," he said.
"There is concern here and elsewhere about the deteriorating situation there, about the involvement of Hizbollah and Iran in the fight in Syria on behalf of Assad," he added.