Kerry condemns Syrian chemical weapons attack

Secretary of State John Kerry
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US Secretary of State John Kerry says there is "high confidence" that the Syrian government carried out deadly attack Aug. 21st involving chemical weapons, and that 1,429 Syrian civilians - including hundreds of children - were killed.

Kerry used strong language in his statement Friday, calling the Aug. 21st attack a "crime against humanity" and Syrian leader Bashar Assad a "thug" and a "murderer."

"We are not alone in our condemnation," Kerry said, citing worldwide support to act.

Read the U.S. government's assessment of the attack here.

Kerry said three days before the chemical attack, Syrian regime members were preparing for weapons use.

"Now that we know what we know, the question we should all be asking is what do we do?" Kerry said.

He said the Obama administration will continue talking to Congress, allies and the American people, and said any action would be limited and not "open-ended."

"President Obama will ensure that the United States of America makes its own decisions on our own timeline based on our own values and decisions," he said.

Kerry acknowledged that Americans are "tired of war" but "fatigue does not resolve us of our responsibility."

He also said "history will judge us all extra harshly if we turn a blind eye" to Assad's alleged use of weapons of mass destruction. But he said the U.S. Would not assume responsibility for a civil war.

Even among opponents of the Bashar Assad regime, many people in the Syrian capital of Damascus are opposed to the idea of Western military intervention. One woman says that as a Syrian, she "cannot support a Western attack" on her country. She added that she's so scared, she hasn't slept in three days. A man who was interviewed there says people in Damascus are "used to the sound of shelling." He said he's not afraid of an attack, adding that "death is the same -- be it with a mortar or with an American missile."