A limited military strike was the only response available to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime after diplomatic efforts had stalled, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said on Friday.
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"Some have asked, given our collective war-weariness, why we cannot use non-military tools to achieve the same end? My answer to this question is: we have exhausted the alternatives," Power said at the Center for American Progress.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, she said, "has barely put a dent in his enormous stockpile. And the international community has clearly not yet put a dent in his willingness to use them."
Power described the chemical weapons attack as an "atrocity" and "murderous behavior." U.S. intelligence agencies have said 1,429 people were killed, including at least 426 children, in the attack on August 21.
She blamed Russia for obstructing diplomatic efforts, saying, "Russia, often backed by China, has blocked every relevant action in the Security Council."
"In Assad's cost-benefit calculus, he must have weighed the military benefits of using this hideous weapon against the recognition that he could get away with it because Russia would have Syria's back in the Security Council," she said.