PARIS — The Obama administration is distributing videos showing a chemical weapons attack in Syria to help convince Americans and Congress that a military intervention against the Syrian government is necessary, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday.
Speaking at a news conference in Paris, Kerry said the videos make clear that the attack is not something Americans can ignore.
The United States has accused Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government of using chemical weapons in an Aug. 21 assault, and cited intelligence reports as saying it killed at least 1,429 people, including more than 400 children. The videos show the victims exhibiting what appear to be symptoms of nerve gas poisoning.
“Those videos make it clear to people that these are real human beings, real children, parents being affected in ways that are unacceptable to anybody, anywhere by any standards,” Kerry said. “And the United States of America that has always stood with others to say we will not allow this – this is not our values, it’s not who we are.”
Kerry is in Europe trying to raise European support for a strike in Syria and also discussing Middle East peace negotiations.
Back in the U.S., the White House is making a big push to rally members of Congress. Lawmakers will consider a resolution authorizing the “limited and specified use” of U.S. armed forces against Syria for no more than 90 days and barring American ground troops from combat. Another bipartisan, classified briefing for Congress is set for Monday.
“The vast majority of members of Congress – House and Senate -are undecided. And that’s why the videos are being shown and the briefings are taking place,” Kerry said.
Kerry met in Paris with representatives of the Arab League, also part of the effort to garner support for a Syrian strike. He reiterated that Saudi Arabia supports military action.
“They have supported a strike and they support taking action,” Kerry said. “They believe it’s very important to do that.”
Saudi Arabia is a staunch supporter of the opposition fighting Assad, and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has cited it as among the U.S. allies in the region that strongly support U.S. military action in Syria.