New Yorkers watched closely Friday as President Barack Obama prepared the nation for military action against Syria, hours after a White House report outlined what it says is persuasive evidence that the Assad regime used poison gas against civilians. NY1's Magee Hickey filed the following report.
Nezar Yabroudi, a Brooklyn leader of the Syrian American Alliance, displayed the pictures of children killed in his homeland and said he has no doubt what President Barack Obama should do.
"Strike missile, no-fly zone, but the most important, we don't need group on the ground," Yabroudi said. "This is very important for the Syrian people."
The White House released an unclassified intelligence assessment Friday that said there is persuasive evidence that the Assad regime used poison gas against civilians outside its capital in Damascus.
The president says no decision has been made, but he is giving every indication it won't be long before the U.S. attacks Syria as punishment for the chemical attack that killed 1,429 people, including at least 420 children.
"The world has an obligation to make sure they we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons. Now, I have not made a final decision on the various actions we can take to enforce that norm," Obama said.
The president is stressing to a war-weary nation that the attack would be limited, and would not involve stationing troops. It also will likely be without authorization from the United Nations, as Russia has indicated it strongly supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
United Nations inspectors have been in Syria, but only to examine whether chemical weapons were used, not who used them. To Secretary of State John Kerry, the answer is clear: It was Assad's people, not the rebels, fighting them.
"We know that for three days before the attack, the Syrian regime's chemical weapons personnel were on the ground in the area making preparations, and we know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons. We know that these were specific instructions," Kerry said.
When the attack will be is unclear. Obama has support from France, but not from Great Britain, where prime minister David Cameron was dealt a defeat Thursday when Parliament declined to authorize military action.
The president is saying that international support is a goal, but not a requirement.
"We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale," Obama said.
Dozens of members of Congress, however, are insisting that the president not go it alone. They're demanding congressional approval before the U.S. launches any military action against Syria.
In Brooklyn, many Syrian-Americans say now is the time:
"Americans should go ahead and strike the murderer Assad and his barbarian company," said Asem Smadi, a Syrian New Yorker. "No need for boots on ground."
The Syrian-Americans NY1 spoke with said they don't think Obama should wait for U.N. or congressional approval.