The U.S. is inching closer to a military strike against Syria.
Earlier this afternoon, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a stern message to the Assad regime and its alleged use of chemical weapons. The response from everyone was the same: war drums!
More reports out this evening suggest that a strike is coming.
CBS News is reporting that Obama has ordered the release of a report that would justify military action. That report, according to "top advisors," would come in a matter of days.
Within The White House, there is no longer any disagreement over the necessity of using military force against Assad, according to Major Garrett of CBS News.
Fox News has confirmed that four U.S. Navy destroyers are being pre-positioned in the nearby Mediterranean Sea, and CNN is reporting were Obama to give the order, a strike could take place "within hours."
Senior administration officials laid out to the Washington Post the plan Obama is weighing, which would be limited in scope. It would be designed to send a message to Assad, while also keeping the U.S. out of further involvement.
According to the report, the strike would "probably" not last longer than two days. The mission would involve striking targets that are not directly related to the Syrian government's purported arsenal of chemical weapons.
The Post lays out the three conditions necessary for such strikes to occur:
...completion of an intelligence report assessing Syrian government culpability in last week’s alleged chemical attack; ongoing consultation with allies and Congress; and determination of a justification under international law.Calls for a U.S.-led intervention in the two-year-old civil war have intensified in recent days, after an alleged chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 which produced horrifying video of dead and injured — many of them children.
International human rights group Doctors Without Borders reported Damascus hospitals received approximately 3,600 patients with "neurotoxic symptoms," 355 of which reportedly died. The Syrian government has repeatedly blamed the rebels for the attack, although U.S. officials harbor "very little doubt" it was the Assad regime.
Despite reports of chemical weapons usage, many Americans are opposed to military action in Syria.
The White House ratcheted up the pressure on Monday, however, delivering some of its most terse rhetoric against the Assad regime.
"What we saw last week in Syria should shock the conscience of the world," Kerry said in a statement from the State Department. "This international norm cannot be violated without consequence."