WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. Obama says that attack was a challenge to the world and threatens U.S. national security. Obama's comment came after the U.S. released an intelligence assessment that found with "high confidence" that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government carried out a chemical weapons attack last week. The U.S. says the attack killed more than 1,400 people. Obama spoke before meeting at the White House with three Baltic leaders.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. knows based on intelligence that the Syrian regime carefully prepared for days to launch a chemical weapons attack. Kerry says Syrian regime personnel were on the ground for three days beforehand, making preparations. He says regime elements were told to prepare by putting on gas masks. Kerry says the U.S. also knows where the rockets were launched from. He says the rockets came from regime-controlled areas. Kerry also says a senior regime official confirmed that the weapons were used and was afraid it would be discovered.
The U.S. has released a public report on intelligence gathered about last week's deadly attack. President Barack Obama is preparing for a possible military strike in response.
Kerry: 1,429 killed in Syrian chemical attackWASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry says the chemical attack this month in Syria killed 1,429 people, including at least 426 children. Those numbers are significantly higher than what Syrian activists and aid workers have reported from Syria. The death toll is contained in a declassified intelligence assessment released by the Obama administration at the same time Kerry was speaking about the Syrian attack. The administration blames the Syrian regime for the deaths.
NBCNEWS.COM - Nearly 80 percent of Americans believe President Barack Obama should receive congressional approval before using force in Syria, but the nation is divided over the scope of any potential strike, a new NBC News poll shows.
Fifty percent of Americans believe the United States should not intervene in the wake of suspected chemical weapons attacks by Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to the poll.
But the public is more supportive of military action when it's limited to launching cruise missiles from U.S. naval ships - 50 percent favor that kind of intervention, while 44 percent oppose it.
The two-day survey was conducted as the Obama administration weighs launching strikes against Syria for the alleged use of chemicals weapons in its violent civil war, as well as amid growing demands by U.S. lawmakers that Congress should have a voice in any debate to authorize force.
On Thursday night, the Obama administration briefed congressional leaders in its effort to make the case for military intervention.
Also on Thursday, Britain's parliament rejected a motion urging an international response to the chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government. But White House officials told NBC News that the administration was prepared to go it alone. "As we've said, President Obama's decision-making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States," Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House and National Security Council, said in a statement.
In this new NBC poll, 50 percent of respondents oppose the United States taking military action in response to Syria's suspected use of chemical weapons, compared with 42 percent who support it. And 58 percent agree with the statement that the use of chemical weapons by any country violates a "red line" that requires a significant U.S. response, including the possibility of military action.
Still, a whopping 79 percent of respondents – including nearly seven-in-10 Democrats and 90 percent of Republicans – say the president should be required to receive congressional approval before taking any action.
The poll also finds that only 21 percent think taking action against the Syrian government is in the national interest of the United States. By comparison, 33 percent disagree and 45 percent don't know enough to have an opinion. And just 27 percent say that U.S. military force will improve the situation for Syrian civilians, versus 41 percent who say it won't.
The NBC poll also shows that President Obama's overall job-approval rating has dropped one point since last month to 44 percent, which is tied for his lowest mark in past NBC News/Wall Street Journal surveys.
He gets even lower marks on foreign policy: Just 41 percent approve of his handling of the issue – an all-time low. And only 35 percent approve of his handling of the situation in Syria.
The photos in the slideshow above are from NBC news.