Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The U.S., U.K. and France are poised for military action against Syria in response to the reported killing of 1,300 people in a chemical attack of two neighborhoods outside Damascus by forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week. Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Moualem, denied the accusations.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was quoted by BBC and Washington Post as saying on Tuesday that he showed President Barack Obama the options the latter requested and that every option is ready for execution.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama is still deciding on the appropriate response and the president will announce it.
Hagel, who is touring Southeast Asia, claimed that there is evidence linking the use of chemical weapons to Assad’s forces.
Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday said there is no doubt Assad’s regime is responsible for the chemical attack in Ghoutta and Moadamiya on Wednesday. Speaking before the American Legion National Convention in Houston, Biden said the Syrian regime has chemical weapons, had used it before and is capable of using it.
In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron said any action his country will take will be legal and proportionate. Cameron asked recessing lawmakers to reconvene to decide on a military response.
French President Francois Hollande told a gathering of French ambassadors in Paris that France is ready to punish those who gassed the innocent in Syria. Hollande said his government has the responsibility to respond to the massacre and military support to the Syrian opposition will be increased.
In Damascus, Moualem challenged the U.S., Britain and France to produce evidence that Syria’s military did the chemical attack.
The minister also accused Secretary of State John Kerry of lying for saying on Monday there is undeniable evidence of chemical attack by Assad’s forces. Moualem said Kerry disregarded the investigation being done by U.N. inspectors in Syria.
The inspectors are to check two sites where chemical weapons were allegedly used by either rebel or regime forces. The inspectors will also visit Ghoutta on Wednesday.
Moualem warned against military aggression on Syria saying the country can defend itself.
The Syria civil war has been raging for two years and the death toll has exceeded 100,000 with two million people forced to flee to neighboring countries.