(WASHINGTON) -- However the U.S. responds to Syria in the wake of allegations that hundreds died in a chemical weapons attack, the Obama administration doesn't appear ready to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
At his daily press briefing Tuesday, chief White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, "I want to make clear that the options that we are considering are not about regime change."
The message isn't intended to give the embattled leader much solace because the administration is also making it clear that post-war Syria won't include al-Assad as it leader.
Again pressed as to why the U.S. doesn't just get rid of al-Assad now, Carney said, "We will take an appropriate response, and the president and his team are evaluating the options to them. And the president will make an assessment and an announcement in due time."
The administration does have plans to release the information it received on the alleged chemical weapons strike outside of Damascus on August 20 that would seemingly give Washington all the evidence it needs to launch some kind of limited military strike against Syria, whether the United Nations gives its approval or not.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden told the American Legion national convention in Houston Tuesday, "The president believes and I believe that those who use chemical weapons against defenseless women and children should and must be held accountable. "
Interviewed by the BBC, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, "Suffice it to say, the options are there. The United States Department of Defense is ready to carry out those options. If that were to occur that would occur also in coordination with our international partners."
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