Obama says chemical weapons use in Syria only 'perceived'
Washington: President Barack Obama has said he has yet to receive clear, corroborated evidence to back up intelligence reports that chemical weapons were used at a small-scale by the Syrian regime.
The comments by Obama came as he has to make a decision to increase the US intervention in Syria, and insisted on the need for more intelligence and details.
When asked whether Syria and the rest of the world would take the US seriously now that the red-line appears to be crossed and the US has not taken action, Obama said the chemical use is only 'perceived'.
He said he would not make those decisions based on 'a hope and a prayer', but on more detailed intelligence reports.
According to the Washington Times, Obama last year had said chemical use by Syrian leaderBashar al-Assad would be a 'red line' that would change his calculus about authorizing US action in that country's civil war.
Reports last week suggested that chemical weapons had been deployed in the fighting, but it was not clear if the government or rebel groups were responsible.
Obama is under increasing pressure to respond to Assad's suspected use of chemical weaponsagainst rebels trying to remove him from power.