News

Obama says concerned about Syria, but cautious about costs

Obama says concerned about Syria, but cautious about costs

President Obama said in an interview more info is needed whether chemical weapons have been used in Syria. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said in an interview aired on Friday that the international community needs to find out more about whether chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and called on the Assad government to allow a full investigation.

“What we’ve seen indicates that this is clearly a big event, of grave concern,” Obama said in an interview with CNN.

“We’re moving through the U.N. to try to prompt better action from them and we’ve called on the Syrian government to allow an investigation of the site because U.N. inspectors are on the ground right now. We don’t expect cooperation, given their past history,” the president said.

Obama said a chemical weapons attack would be “very troublesome.”

“That starts getting to some core national interests that the United States has, both in terms of us making sure that weapons of mass destruction are not proliferating as well as needing to protect our allies, our bases in the region. This is something that is going to require America’s attention and hopefully the entire international community’s attention,” he said.

But Obama said the human and financial costs of the ongoing war in Afghanistan have made him cautious about moving forward too quickly.

“The notion that the U.S. can somehow solve what is a sectarian complex problem inside of Syria sometimes is overstated,” he said.

Syrian activists say they are smuggling out body tissue samples from victims of an alleged chemical weapons attack outside Damascus and are trying to get them to a team of United Nations inspectors staying in a hotel a few miles away.

Recent Headlines

in Local

Petition Effort To Restore Death Penalty Completed

vote

A referendum petition drive far exceeded the number of signatures needed to keep the repeal of the death penalty from taking effect...and to force a vote on the issue.

in Local

Authorities Seek To Control Mussels

zebra mussel

Now that growing numbers of zebra mussels have been confirmed in Lewis & Clark Lake, the focus changes to slowing the spread of the invasive animal.

in Local

South Dakota Students Above Average

education 2

A.C.T. scores from last spring’s testing have been released by the South Dakota Department of Education, and the states students continue to score above the national average.

in Local

School Districts Seek Additonal Funding

College Money Student

A record number of Minnesota school districts -- 66 at last count -- are asking voters to increase property taxes this year so they can construct new buildings.

in Local

Event To Prepare Meals

grocery bag

A volunteer effort billed as "the nation's largest food packaging event" kicks-off today in Des Moines.