Obama foresees no US troops in Syria
5 May BBC
US President Barack Obama says he does not foresee a scenario that
would require sending US troops to Syria.
He reaffirmed that clear evidence that the Syrian government had used
chemical weapons would be a "game changer", but that any response would
not be rushed. Earlier Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said the US was no
longer ruling out arming the rebels.
This comes as dozens of people were reportedly killed by government
troops in north-western Syria on Thursday.
Mr Obama told reporters in Costa Rica on Friday that as a
commander-in-chief he could rule nothing out "because circumstances
But he added he did not foresee a scenario in which "American boots
on the ground in Syria" would be good for either America or Syria. He
also said he had already consulted with Middle Eastern leaders and they
agreed with him.
Mr Obama reiterated that there was evidence that chemical weapons had
been used in Syria, but that "we don't know when, where or how".He
stressed that if strong evidence was found it would be "a game changer
for us" because "there is a possibility that it (weapons) lands in the
hands of organisations like Hezbollah" in neighbouring Lebanon.
On Thursday, Mr Hagel became the first senior US official to state
publicly that Washington was reconsidering its opposition to supplying
weapons to rebel forces.
"Arming the rebels - that's an option," he told reporters.You look at
and rethink all options. It doesn't mean you do or you will. These are
options that must be considered with the international community."
With no appetite for direct military intervention, many US officials
increasingly feel that arming the rebels is now the least-worst option,
the BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington says.