Two Obama administration officials say a formal determination of chemical weapons use by Syria is expected Tuesday and local immigrants with ties to the country say they will be watching closely. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Secretary of State John Kerry roundly criticized Syria on Monday and said there is "undeniable" evidence of a large scale chemical weapons attack that killed civilians, including women and children.
"The killing of women and children, and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity," Kerry said.
The Secretary of State says evidence strongly suggests and images scream that chemical weapons were used in Syria. Doctors Without Borders treated about 3,600 patients in three hours last Wednesday with symptoms strongly indicating mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent. At least 350 of them reportedly died.
"We have to act. I'm not certain where this is going to lead, but once that red line has been crossed, once chemical weapons have been used, I believe the president has to take action."
Congressman Peter King who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee has called for a cruise missile attack against Syrian armed forces.
Syrian-Americans who spoke with NY1 in Brooklyn say that is long overdue.
"You don't know how many times we cry. We wake up with the news, we sleep in the news, we eat in the news, we can't do anything," said Nezar Yabroudi, a Syrian native.
Yabroudi says he and the Syrian American Alliance have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for humanitarian relief in their home country.
He says he voted for President Barack Obama hoping he would take action because he believes the Assad regime has used chemical weapons a dozen times since the rebellion started more than two years ago.
"We waiting for Mr. Obama he say chemical weapon is a red line and we don't know how many red line we have to wait," Yabroudi said.
Thousands of Syrian-Americans live in the city. Some say they are scared to speak on camera, concerned the Assad regime will seek retribution against their families.
United Nations inspectors are staying near Damascus now trying to get access to the location of the alleged chemical weapons attack.
Kerry and others say the Assad regime delayed letting inspectors in because it wanted to hide the evidence.
President Obama has been reaching out to western leaders regarding Syria.
Great Britain seems in favor of military intervention while France and Germany, which refused to support the 2003 Iraq invasion, suggested they may take part in an intervention.
Russia said that would violate international law.