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Barack Obama's 'red line' on Syria grows softer

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said that they had evidence pointing out to the use of chemical weapons in Syria but they did not know exactly how the chemical weapons were used, who used them, and when the chemical weapons were used. President Obama's remarks came at a press conference held in Washington marking the 100th day of his second term. President Obama stressed that the US had to be more certain of all the facts before a decision is made to intervene in Syria.
 
Obama stated that, if it was indeed determined that the Assad administration used chemical weapons, "we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us".
 
Obama said the Syrian conflict was a "blemish on the international community generally".
 
He said it will take time to conclusively render a judgment on whether a U.S. "red line" against the use of chemical weapons by Syria had been crossed, insisting that "I've got to make sure I've got the facts."
 
"We do not know who used them. We don't have a chain of custody that establishes exactly what happened," Obama stressed.
 
Obama added that the international community had to be completely confident in the assessment that chemical weapons were used.
 
Obama said the Defense Department already has prepared options that might be available, which he declined to describe, in response to what would clearly be an "escalation" and a "threat to the security of the international community, our allies and the Untied States."
 
Obama is leery about launching military action against Syria without firm evidence, given that his predecessor, George W. Bush, began the Iraq war over claims of weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be untrue.
 
"If we end up rushing to judgment without hard, effective evidence, then we can find ourselves in the position where we can't mobilize the international community to support what we do," he said.
 
The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denies using chemical weapons in the two-year-old civil war in which more than 70,000 people have been killed.

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