(WASHINGTON) — In light of the reported chemical attack in Syria this week, the White House has been busy meeting and discussing possible responses to the alleged actions of President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
While Syria is unlikely to grant the U.S. access to facts and evidence, the White House spent most of Friday working to fill in the gaps around the reports. The Syrian opposition has been helpful in providing evidence to the U.S. government.
A senior official told ABC News that the administration is “taking a look at options” that include missile strikes and providing arms to the rebels. With that said, sending American soldiers to Syria is not — and will not be — an option.
The official said that the meetings were different from past administration rhetoric, in that it is more urgent. The potential large death tolls could represent either a major escalation or proof that Assad has lost control of his country’s chemical weapons.
While administration officials hope to have a decision in the near future, “there is no timeline.”
The official told ABC News that whatever action the U.S. takes must serve to advance the U.S. strategy and goals in Syria and should take into consideration the potential consequences.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry spent much of Friday making phone calls to a number of foreign representatives. In speaking with foreign ministers and secretaries from Europe and the Middle East, as well as representatives from the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League, Kerry reiterated the United States’ commitment to gather the pertinent facts surrounding the events of this past week.
A statement from a senior State Department official additionally expressed American “concern and outrage over the disturbing reports, photos and videos we have seen, which shock the conscience.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Dylan Byers, CNN
Lee Montana Newspapers
Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN