Strike on Syria possible as Obama positions forces

Civil war raging in Syria.
Civil war raging in Syria. Philippe Desmazes

THE world is waiting for United States President Barack Obama's word on whether he will order a strike on Syrian forces in the wake of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the conflict-torn nation.

US military forces were positioned in the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend poised to act if Mr Obama gave the nod.

According to Bloomberg, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters the defence department had a responsibility to provide the President with options for all contingencies.

"That requires positioning our forces, positioning our assets to be able to carry out different options whatever option the President may choose," he said.

The call for action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces mounted after reports government forces used chemical weapons in an attack that killed 1300 people.

The United Kingdom has joined the US in calling for President al-Assad to allow United Nations inspectors to investigate the attack site to gather evidence, Bloomberg reports.

In Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pressed hold on his campaign to address the issue.

But reports emerged Mr Rudd delayed his security briefing so he could film an episode of the ABC show, Kitchen Cabinet.

Mr Rudd issued a statement over the weekend denying the claims.

"Any statement or inference that the timing of Saturday evening's national security briefing to the Prime Minister on Syria has in any way been delayed because of other Prime Ministerial commitments in Brisbane is 100 per cent wrong and is defamatory," the statement read.

Topics:  barack obama, chemical weapons, chuck hagel, syria



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