WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama continues to ponder a final decision on whether to order a punitive strike on Syria over an alleged chemical weapons attack by the regime on rebel forces outside Damascus. The administration says it has "high confidence" that some sort of nerve agent was used, killing 1,429 people.
Meanwhile, U.N. experts investigating the alleged chemical strike outside Damascus left Syria today, carrying with them blood urine and soil samples to be tested in laboratories in Europe.
Obama says any strike on Syria will be limited in scope and not include "boots on the ground." His only public interenational support comes from France and members of Congress have expressed various concerns.
Any U.S. action carries the potential to trigger retaliation by the Syrian regime or its proxies against U.S. allies in the region, such as Jordan, Turkey and Israel.
PUTIN URGES CAUTION
Russian President Vladimir Putin is urging President Barack Obama not to rush into any decision on striking Syria, but to consider whether strikes would help end the violence and be worth the likely civilian casualties.
Saturday's statements were the first from Putin since the suspected chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21.
Putin advised Obama to reflect on the results of U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq before deciding to unleash air strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.