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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama says he long resisted calls for military action in Syria because he didn't think force could solve the Syrian civil war.
But he says he changed his mind after Syria's government gassed its own citizens.
Obama on Tuesday used a televised address to the nation to explain his thinking on the ongoing fighting in Syria. He said the use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21 shifted his thinking and that the United States must respond with a military strike to deter future use of such weapons.
Obama says nobody disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria. He says that use violates international law and poses, in his words, a "danger to our security."
Obama says the world saw thousands of videos, cellphone pictures and social media posts about the damage inflicted by the chemical weapons attack outside Damascus last month.
He says the U.S. knows that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime was responsible. He says Assad's forces prepared the attack in the days beforehand. He says they distributed gas masks to their personnel, then fired rockets into neighborhoods the regime was trying to rid of opposition forces.
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