In a statement on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry blamed the Syrian government for last week's alleged chemical weapon use against civilians, calling the attack “undeniable” and a “moral obscenity.”
“What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world,” Kerry said. “It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard it is inexcusable...and it is undeniable.”
“There is a clear reason that the world has banned entirely the use of chemical weapons,” he added. “There is a reason why President Obama has made it such a priority to stop the proliferation of these weapons.”
Kerry went on to discuss his experience of rewatching the videos of the attacks, describing what he saw as “human suffering that we can never ignore or forget...What is before us today is real, and it is compelling.”
Kerry's comments are by far the strongest indication that a forceful response from the Obama administration against the Syrian government is forthcoming, though he made sure to emphasize that investigations were still underway. Those investigations include the use of UN investigators, who earlier this morning were temporarily denied access to a Damascus suburb by sniper fire.
The Obama administration has been considering military intervention in Syria since the civil war began two years ago, and in June the U.S. provided Syrian rebels with weapons. Last week, Obama told CNN that the U.S. faced an “abbreviated timeline” in deciding a response to the chemical attacks, which reportedly killed over 1,300 people. Since the war began two years ago, over 100,000 Syrians have been killed and thousands more have been displaced.