UK & World News
Syria: Obama Accuses Assad Over Gas Attack
Barack Obama has said any strike against Syria would be to "send a shot across the bow" to deter future chemical weapons attacks.
President Obama said the US had concluded that the Syrian government carried out the large-scale chemical weapons attack against civilians last week.
He said the US had examined evidence and did not believe the rebels possessed chemical weapons or the means to deliver them.
But he added that the US had not yet made a firm decision about how to respond.
"If we are saying in a clear and decisive but very limited way, we send a shot across the bow saying, stop doing this, this can have a positive impact on our national security over the long term," the President said in a televised interview.
President Obama was asked what would be the strategic rationale behind a US attack, given its potentially limited scope.
He replied that by the end of the engagement, the Syrian government "will have received a pretty strong signal that it better not do it again".
Earlier, the Obama administration said it would take action against the Syrian government even without the backing of allies or the United Nations.
It said diplomatic paralysis - because of "Russia's intransigence" - must not prevent a response to the alleged attack outside the Syrian capital Damascus last week.
"The situation is so serious that it demands a response," the spokeswoman said.
The US says intelligence services had intercepted lower-level Syrian military commanders' communications discussing the chemical attack.
However, the communications don't specifically link the attack to an official senior enough to tie the killings to Assad himself, according to three intelligence officials.
Britain added a hurdle to deliberations when it went to the UN Security Council with a draft resolution that would authorise the use of military force against Syria.
The draft seemed doomed before it was proposed.
As expected, the five permanent members of the security council failed to reach an agreement as Russia reiterated its objections to international intervention.
Russia, along with China, has blocked past attempts to sanction the Assad government.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the use of force without a sanction of the UN Security Council would be a "crude violation" of international law.
David Cameron has called an emergency meeting of the British Parliament on Thursday to vote on whether to endorse international action against Syria.