HOUSTON (CBS DC/AP) — Vice President Joe Biden says there is no doubt that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government is responsible for the heinous use of chemical weapons.
Biden’s comments Tuesday make him the highest-ranking U.S. official to say the Syrian regime is the culprit in a large-scale chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21. Syrian activists say up to 1,300 people died in the attack.
Biden says the Syrian government is the only actor in the 2-year civil war that possesses and can deliver chemical weapons. He says Assad has blocked U.N. investigators from the site and has been bombing it for days.
The White House says President Barack Obama hasn’t settled on how to respond to the attack. The Pentagon says U.S. military forces are ready to strike Syria if Obama gives the order.
“We are prepared. We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the administration is not contemplating about a regime change in Syria.
“The options that we are considering are not about regime change,” Carney told reporters at the White House press briefing. “They are about responding to the clear violation of an international standard that prohibits the use of chemical weapons.”
Biden spoke at the American Legion’s national convention.
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