Obama exploring Syria 'options'

President Barack Obama has said the US is considering "all options" in response to the apparent use of chemical weapons inside Syria. His defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, earlier said officials were rethinking opposition to arming the Syrian rebels.

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Obama: US considering 'all options' in regard to Syria

Barack Obama has addressed the issue of Syria during his visit to Mexico. Credit: REUTERS/Henry Romero

President Barack Obama has said the United States is considering "all options" in response to the apparent use of chemical weapons inside Syria.

He said the White House's assessment on how much aid would be provided to Syrian opposition forces was also ongoing.

"We are continually evaluating the situation on the ground, working with our international partners to find the best way to move a political transition," Mr Obama said at a press conference during a visit to Mexico.

"As we've seen evidence of further bloodshed, potential use of chemical weapons inside of Syria, what I've said is that we're going to look at all options," he added.

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US reconsiders whether to arm Syria rebels

The United States is rethinking its opposition to arming the Syrian rebels, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has said.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. Credit: Reuters

Hagel stressed that no decision by US President Barack Obama had been made and did not signal whether one was likely soon.

US military commanders have voiced concerns that weapons could fall into the hands anti-American Islamic extremists and that arming opposition groups may do little to end the conflict.

"You look at and rethink all options. It doesn't mean you do or you will" choose them, Hagel said.

"These are options that must be considered with partners, with the international community: what is possible, what can help accomplish (our) objectives," he added.

The defence secretary is in Washington for talks. Credit: Reuters

British defence secretary Philip Hammond, who is in Washington for talks, noted that the UK was constrained by a European Union ban on supplying armaments to the rebels.

He said: "Both of our nations will only do what we legally can do," Hammond said, adding his government would "look at the situation when that ban expires in a few weeks' time."