WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday the chemical weapons use against civilians in Syria is inexcusable and "undeniable," and that President Barack Obama will be making an informed decision on how to respond.
"Indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity," Kerry said in a forceful statement delivered in the State Department press briefing room.
"By any standard, it is inexcusable and -- despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured -- it is undeniable, " he said.
"What is before us today is real, and it is compelling," said Kerry, noting that while investigators are still gathering additional evidence on the ground, the U.S. side has no doubt on what had transpired in the suburbs of Damascus, and that Syrian government has the capability to launch such an attack.
Accusing the Bashar al-Assad regime of destroying evidence, Kerry said "our sense of basic humanity is offended not only by this cowardly crime, but by the cynical attempt to cover it up."
Kerry said Obama "believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people," and that he will be making an informed decision on how to respond.
Kerry, however, gave no timeline as to when Obama will make the decision.
Kerry also said he spoke on Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, and "made it very clear to him that if the regime, as he argued, had nothing to hide, then their response should be immediate, immediate transparency, immediate access, not shelling."
Since reports of chemical weapons use in Syria emerged last week, Washington has been keeping mum about how it will respond.
On Saturday, Obama called a National Security Council meeting and "received a detailed review of a range of potential options he had requested be prepared for the United States and the international community to respond to the use of chemical weapons. "