US President Barack Obama strongly suggested Tuesday he would consider military action against Syria if it can be confirmed that President Bashar Assad's government used chemical weapons in the two-year-old civil war.
Asked about Syria at a White House news conference, the president said that while there is evidence that chemical weapons were used inside the country, "we don't know when they were used, how they were used. We don't know who used them. We don't have a chain of custody that establishes" exactly what happened.
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If it can be established that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, he added, "we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us."
"Obviously there are options to me that are on the shelf right now that we have not deployed," he said, noting that he had asked Pentagon planners last year for additional possibilities.
Obama has said there is "some evidence" that President Bashar Assad's government used chemical weapons against his people. But he said that's a preliminary assessment based on intelligence information.
Obama repeated his statement that the use of chemical weapons would be a "game changer" in the region. But he said the international community has to be completely confident in the assessment.
AP, Reuters contributed to this report
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