U.N. experts left Syria on Saturday after investigating a poison gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians, and the United States said it was planning a limited response to punish Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad for the “brutal and flagrant” assault, Reuters reports.
U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States, which has five cruise-missile equipped destroyers in the region, was in the planning process for a “limited, narrow” military action that would not involve boots on the ground or be open-ended.
The 20-member team, including experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, have been into the rebel-held areas in the Ghouta suburb of Damascus three times, taking blood and tissue samples from victims. They also took samples of soil, clothing and rocket fragments.
They will be sent to laboratories in Europe, most likely Sweden or Finland, for analysis. The U.N. experts have already been testing for sarin, mustard gas or other toxic agents.
The analysis should establish if a chemical attack took place but not who was responsible for the August 21 attack on a Damascus suburb.
Final results might not be ready for two weeks, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Security Council members.