WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry again condemned attacks reportedly perpetrated by the Syrian government against its own people – which he referred to as a “crime against humanity” — and asserted that the course of action taken by the United States in response will have long-lasting effects on international politics.

Kerry read his latest statements during a news conference Friday afternoon as rampant speculation continued to swirl around whether or not the U.S. would attack Syria.

“What we choose to do or not do matters in real ways to our own security,” he told members of the press. “Some cite the risk of doing things but we need to ask what is the risk of doing nothing?”

Related: U.S. Government Assessment of Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons

He asserted that “terrorist groups and dictator[s]” alike will look to the decision regarding whether or not to attack as a cue for the potential consequences of their behavior – or lack thereof.

Said Kerry, “There will be no end to the test of our resolve and the danger that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will.”

Federal officials are assured of the involvement of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his government for the heinous use of chemical weapons. The Pentagon says U.S. military forces are ready to strike Syria if Obama gives the order to respond militarily to the purported chemical weapons use last week in a Damascus suburb.

Map: Areas Affected by Aug. 21 Chemical Attack in Syria

He said that “many friends stand ready to respond,” including “our oldest ally, the French.”

President Barack Obama has not yet officially decided on a course of action, but Kerry promised decisive action following a final call, adding that Obama is “a President who does what he says he will do.”

“Let me be clear; we will continue talking to the Congress, talking to the allies and most importantly talking to the American people,” he pledged. “[W]e know that after a decade of conflict the American people are tired of war, believe me, I am too.”

He continued, “But fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility, just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about.”

Kerry also said that 1,429 people were killed in the alleged attack on the Syrian people, including 426 children.

“I’m not asking you to take my word for it. Read for yourself, everyone…the evidence from thousands of sources, evidence that is already publicly available,” he said.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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