Obama says his 'red line' in Syria conflict is WMD

By Bradley Klapper

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 21 2012 2:25 a.m. MDT

The U.S. so far has limited its aid to the Syrian rebels to humanitarian relief and communications equipment while trying to help the opposition come up with a blueprint for a post-Assad future, which the U.S. says is only a question of time. The approach aims to avoid a repeat of the post-Saddam chaos in Iraq by preventing sectarian strife and ensuring that the state continues to supply water, electricity and other basic services. Officials have called this regime change with a "soft landing."

Obama reiterated his call for Assad to step down, while offering a realistic assessment of the chances for a peaceful solution.

"So far he hasn't gotten the message, and instead has doubled down in violence on his own people," the president said. "The international community has sent a clear message that rather than drag his country into civil war, he should move in the direction of a political transition. But at this point, the likelihood of a soft landing seems pretty distant."

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