Amid Syria violence, Obama pressed on purpose of Atrocities Prevention Board

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The letter calls on Obama to:

• Release an executive order on atrocities prevention;

• Engage the public by creating a “clear mechanism for civil society to feed into the APB process”;

• Coordinate with international partners at the UN and elsewhere; and

• Recommit publicly to atrocities prevention as a moral and national security priority.

The letter comes as Obama is under increasing pressure to adopt a more forceful role in Syria, where Bashar Assad's regime appears to have crossed the president's “red line” by using chemical weapons in the two-year-old civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday the administration is “reviewing our options” about arming vetted rebel groups in the wake of the intelligence community's assessment regarding chemical weapons.