Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – It appears that the U.S. is moving closer to military action against Syria as Syrian President Bashar Al Assad stands accused of using chemical weapons against his own people.
Vice President Joe Biden says White House has no doubt that the Syrian leader used the chemical weapons.
"There is no doubt who is responsible for the heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria - the Syrian regime,” Biden said at the American Legion Nation Convention in Houston on Tuesday.
Statements from the White House indicate that the Obama administration is weighing its options.
“We cannot allow this kind of violation of an international norm, with all the attendant grave consequences that it represents, to go unanswered. What form that response will take is what the president is assessing now with his team,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
U.S. Army officials say they are on standby with warships in place, potential targets identified and cruise missiles at the ready.
“We are ready to go, like that,” said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Hagel told the BBC
that the pentagon is awaiting the president's orders.
World leaders are speaking out, with some calling for action and others urging nations to not strike.
The Arab League and key U.S. allies have indicated their support for a strong response.
“The question now for us is, are we more likely to deter the future use of chemical weapons by acting, or not acting?” said British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“The world cannot stand idly by in light of such a significant chemical weapons attack,” said Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
While some world leaders promote action against Syria, CNN reports
that Russia is urging nations not to strike, saying there is no proof that Syria used chemical weapons yet.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov even accused the U.S. of trying to “create artificial groundless excuses for military intervention."
Rebel forces in Syria are accusing the government of killing more than 1,300 people in an August 21 attack, but the regime is denying all allegations.
The Syrian government denies the U.S. accusations that they have used chemical weapons against its own people and the government-run TV station in Syria accuses the U.S. of fabricating evidence against the regime.
Bashar Al Assad's regime has vowed to defend itself by using "all means."
In its defense, the Syrian regime has hundreds of tons of mustard gas, large stockpiles of sarin and 100,000 missiles and rockets, including thousands of powerful scud missiles.
The White House says it is consulting with house and senate leaders while President Obama and Vice President Biden are in contact with world leaders in an effort to build international support for a strike.