US: Military option 'on the table' for Syria

A civil defence member breathes through an oxygen mask after what rescue workers described as a gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib. (Reuters photo)

WASHINGTON – The United States has not excluded a military response to a poison gas attack that killed scores of civilians which Washington blamed on the Syrian government, a senior administration official said on Thursday.

Asked whether the military option had been taken off the table, the official said: “No.”

It is unclear how much US military planning exists on striking targets associated with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Britain, France and the United States asked the UN Security Council to hold a vote Thursday on a resolution demanding an investigation of the suspected chemical attack in Syria, diplomats said.

It remained unclear whether Russia would support the measure, which was slightly revised following negotiations over the past two days.

The Turkish Health Minister said Thursday the poison used in the deadly chemical bomb attack in a rebel-held part of northern Syria this week was the banned nerve agent sarin.

“According to the results of preliminary tests,” the statement said, “patients were exposed to chemical material (sarin)”.

The statement from Turkey, where many of the stricken Syrians were taken after the assault on Tuesday, was the most specific yet about the cause.

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