Syria President Bashar Assad said his country will defend itself against any aggression, as news surfaces that the United States will soon lead a military strike. Syria is preparing itself for war with Western powers.
The U.S. and other nations believe Assad’s government is responsible for suspected poison gas attacks near Damascus last week. The group Doctors Without Borders says the attacks killed 355 people.
President Obama signaled Wednesday that the U.S. is moving toward a punitive strike, saying there “need to be international consequences” for the deadly attacks.
Mr. Obama said although he hasn’t made a decision on the exact response, any strike would be limited in nature. In an interview Wednesday with PBS, Mr. Obama said he had “no interest in any open-ended conflict in Syria.”
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reiterated, meanwhile, that if the U.S. was to take any military action against Syria, “it would be an international collaboration.”
The British government of Prime Minister David Cameron has been building its own case for military intervention in Syria, and like the U.S. government, has claimed to have intelligence proving the attacks in Damascus’ eastern Ghouta suburbs on Aug. 21 were the work of the Assad regime.
The U.K. Joint Intelligence Organisation released a report Thursday claiming “a limited but growing body of intelligence” showing that Assad’s regime was guilty of the Ghouta gas attack. The report did not explain what that intelligence was.
The Obama administration is putting the finishing touches on two reports — the first a classified assessment to be presented to Congress; the second, a declassified version for the American public — meant to lay out the evidence that Assad’s government used chemical weapons. But he faces questions from lawmakers about any planned strike.
“Having again determined your red line has been crossed, should a decisive response involve the use of the United States military, it is essential that you provide a clear, unambiguous explanation of how military action – which is a means, not a policy – will secure U.S. objectives and how it fits into your overall policy,” House Speaker John Boehner wrote in a letter Wednesday.
“It is essential you address on what basis any use of force would be legally justified and how the justification comports with the exclusive authority of Congressional authorization under Article I of the Constitution,” he continued.