U.S. Weighs Plans to Punish Assad

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Possible Military Responses Are Refined After Poison Gas Claims.

he U.S. began refining its military options for possible strikes in Syria, officials said, and initiated diplomatic efforts to craft an international response to allegations that Syria’s government killed over 1,100 civilians with chemical weapons.

Officers at the Pentagon on Thursday were updating target lists for possible airstrikes on a range of Syrian government and military installations, officials said, as part of contingency planning should President Barack Obama decide to act after what experts said may be the worst chemical-weapons massacre in more than two decades.

The Syrian government denied allegations it gassed its own people, backed by new statements from regime allies Iran and Russia accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s international foes of conspiring against him. U.S. officials said they have seen “strong indications” that chemical weapons were used but that more work was needed to evaluate and collect evidence.

The regime gave no indication, however, that it would agree to Mr. Ban’s plea to let U.N. inspectors investigate the chemical-weapons allegations, as Syrian forces pressed on with an offensive in the towns around the capital where the attacks were alleged to have occurred.

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