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Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:1AM
A Syrian soldier

A Syrian soldier

US President Barack Obama met with his national security team on Saturday to discuss options against Syria.
A majority of Americans are opposed to Washington’s military intervention in Syria as senior administration officials are discussing “a range of options” for the crisis-hit country, including the possibility of airstrikes. A new poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos found that about 60 percent of respondents believe the US should not get militarily involved in the Syrian conflict, as opposed to only nine percent who said Washington should act. According to the poll, 46 percent of Americans would still oppose US intervention if it is determined that forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were behind a recent chemical attack in the country. Syria’s foreign-backed opposition claims that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on militant strongholds on Wednesday, an allegation denied by Damascus. US President Barack Obama met with his national security team on Saturday to discuss options against Syria. American officials have said Obama will decide how to respond once the facts are established. "In coordination with international partners and mindful of the dozens of contemporaneous witness accounts and record of the symptoms of those killed, the US intelligence community continues to gather facts to ascertain what occurred," the White House said after the meeting. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also said on Sunday that the US military has prepared “options for all contingencies” in Syria and is ready to use force if President Obama gives the green-light. "President Obama has asked the Defense Department to prepare options for all contingencies. We have done that and we are prepared to exercise whatever option -- if he decides to employ one of those options,'' Hagel said. Meanwhile, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi warned the United States of the dire consequences of launching an offensive against Syria. “The basic repercussion would be a ball of fire that would burn not only Syria but the whole Middle East,” al-Zoubi said. “An attack on Syria would be no easy trip.” AGB/HJ
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