By Justin Sink - 08/26/13 04:45 PM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to address reporters at 2:30 p.m. amid questions about whether U.S.-led air strikes are imminent against Syria.
White House press secretary Jay Carney’s briefing was pushed back from 12:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., possibly to make time for Kerry, who was originally to speak to the press at 2 p.m.
The next day, President Obama interrupted his vacation to announce that he was canceling joint military exercises with Egypt.
The administration on Sunday indicated it believes Syria’s government used chemical weapons as part of an attack on rebel groups in the Damascus suburbs, with one official labeling Syria’s offer to grant access to United Nations weapons inspectors “too late to be credible.”
The official also said the there was “very little doubt at this point that a chemical weapon was used by the Syrian regime against civilians in this incident.” The reported death toll from the attack has varied widely, from several hundred to more than 1,000.
Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill openly predicted strikes were imminent, though administration officials said no decision had been made.
U.N. inspectors invited to Syria came under sniper fire on Monday, increasing tensions further. No inspectors were harmed in the attack.
Russian officials on Monday said they would oppose a military strike against Syria, diminishing chances that the U.S. could secure a United Nations Security Council resolution endorsing a military response to the alleged chemical attack.