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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Arab League Accuses Syria Of Chemical Attack, As U.S. Positions War Ships, Planes

U.S. Navy destroyers are pictured during exercises in March 2013. (Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes/U.S. Navy via AP)

U.S. Navy destroyers are pictured during exercises in March 2013. (Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes/U.S. Navy via AP)

The Arab League has blamed the Syrian government for last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus that killed hundreds, calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

In an emergency meeting held Tuesday, the Arab League also called on members of the U.N. Security Council to overcome their differences and agree on “deterrent” measures against those who committed “this heinous crime.” The League said it will convene a meeting at the ministerial level next week to follow up on the situation in Syria.

The Syrian government has denied it was behind the attack.

U.S. forces are now ready to act on any order by President Barack Obama to strike Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy has four destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea positioned within range of targets inside Syria, as well as U.S. warplanes in the region, Hagel said in an interview with BBC television during his visit to the southeast Asian nation of Brunei.

Hagel also predicted that U.S. intelligence agencies would soon conclude that last week’s deadly attack on civilians in a Damascus suburb was a chemical attack by Bashar Assad’s government.

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