Obama 'doesn't expect to have boots on the ground' in Syria
BEIRUT (Reuters) - United States President Barack Obama called the apparent gassing of hundreds of Syrian civilians a "big event of grave concern", but stressed on Friday he was in no rush to embroil Americans in a costly new war.
As opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad braved the frontlines around Damascus to smuggle tissue samples from victims of Wednesday's mass poisoning to the United Nations inspectors, Mr Obama brushed over an interviewer's reminder that he once called chemical weapons a "red line" that could trigger US action.
A White House spokesman reiterated Mr Obama's position that he did not expect to have "boots on the ground" in Syria.
Mr Obama's caution contrasted with calls for action from Nato allies, including France, Britain and Turkey, where leaders saw little doubt that Mr Assad's forces had staged pre-dawn missile strikes that rebels say killed between 500 and well over 1,000 people.