Obama to make Syria statement but not announce imminent strike: Official
AFP, Saturday 31 Aug 2013
White House says Obama will shortly address the American people regarding situation in Syria but will not announce imminent military action

US President Barack Obama will speak shortly to Americans about the situation in Syria, but will not announce imminent military action, a White House official said Saturday.

Obama will update Americans at 17:15 GMT on the way forward in the crisis, amid expectations that Washington will launch air strikes to punish President Bashar al-Assad's regime for using chemical weapons.

White House maneuvering over the last two days has appeared to signal that what Obama has called for - "limited" military strikes - could take place shortly.

However, developments on Saturday could indicate an prolonging of the timetable for diplomatic reasons.

Earlier, Arab League foreign ministers brought forward to Sunday a Cairo meeting that had been scheduled for Tuesday, and any further condemnation of Assad's actions could give Washington extra diplomatic cover for military action.

On Tuesday, the Arab League accused the Syrian regime of carrying out chemical weapons attacks in Damascus suburbs last week.

Latest developments came after the United States on Friday released an intelligence report that concluded the regime had launched a chemical onslaught in the suburbs of Damascus last week, killing 1,429 people, including at least 426 children.