U.S. preparing missile strike on Syria as evidence mounts of chemical weapons use

By George Chidi
Friday, August 23, 2013 20:29 EDT
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Syrian gas attack casualties
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The Pentagon is reportedly preparing for a possible order to strike Syrian targets with cruise missiles, as evidence mounts of the use of chemical weapons emerges from an attack on a Damascus suburb earlier this week, CBS News reported Friday.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is expected to present options Saturday for a punitive cruise missile strike against military assets of the government of Bashar al-Assad, reported David Martin, CBS’s Pentagon correspondent.

A strike will depend on decisions yet to be made by President Barack Obama. In an interview with CNN Friday, Obama described the attack in Damascus leaving hundreds dead as a “big event of grave concern,” but stopped short of definitively declaring it a chemical weapons attack and said that the evidence must be clear and must be able to be presented to the United Nations to justify a punitive missile strike.

“We have to think through strategically what’s going to be in our long term national interests,” Obama said to CNN.

Watch CBS’s report about the Pentagon’s preparations for a cruise missile strike against Assad below.

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