US signals readiness to strike Syria
WASHINGTON - The White House says any military action against Syria will be limited, and won't be aimed at forcing Bashar Assad from power.
The administration is getting ready to declare formally that chemical weapons have been used in Syria's civil war. And White House spokesman Jay Carney says it would be "preposterous" to suggest that anyone other than the Syrian government was responsible for last week's attack.
The White House says President Barack Obama hasn't yet settled on what action to take in response to the use of deadly gases -- a development that Obama had said last year would cross a red line. But Carney says, "The options we are considering are not about regime change."
Officials had planned to release an intelligence report today that would more formally link Assad to the attack, but that release now appears to have been pushed back until later in the week.
The U.S. and allies in Europe appear to be laying the groundwork for the most aggressive response since Syria's civil war began more than two years ago. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today that U.S. military forces stand ready to strike Syria at once if Obama gives the order.