The United States on Monday said use of chemical weapons in Syria was “inexcusable, undeniable” and that those responsible will be held accountable.
Calling the use of chemical weapons a “moral obscenity”, secretary of state John Kerry said, “President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people”.
Though he did not spell out the consequences, Kerry was clearly seen as signaling military intervention, according to experts and analysts, who also said the statement was the strongest yet.
“The question now is not whether the United States will respond,” said Richard Haas of the Centre for Foreign Relations in a conference call, adding, “but only when.”
There have been report of the US moving its warships into the region in preparation of a cruise missile strike, which, Haas offered, was one of the possibilities.
Secretary Kerry said consultations were on with congress, which will have to clear any military action if and when Obama gives the go ahead, and other nations.
The president discussed “possible response” with UK prime minister David Cameron and French president Francois Hollande in telephone conversations over the weekend.
It’s clear now the US was not going to wait for UN inspectors. It has concluded chemical weapons were used and that the Syrian government tried to destroy the evidence.
“Our sense of basic humanity is offended not only by this cowardly crime, but also by the cynical attempt to cover it up,” said Kerry. He added he had watched videos of victims.
The US has more evidence of this attack, Kerry said, adding, it was “being compiled and reviewed together with our partners, and we will provide that information in the days ahead”.