US President Barack Obama has held a televised address to the nation to explain US policy on Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
He said the Syrian government was clearly responsible for the use of chemical weapons that killed more than 1,000 people last month.
He said the US would work with Russia on its proposal to persuade Syria to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile.
But he said the US would maintain the threat of force should diplomacy fail.
Speaking from the White House, President Obama said he had long resisted calls for military action in Syria because he did not believe that force could solve the civil war.
But he said he changed his mind after the alleged chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on 21 August.
He said he welcomed Russia’s proposal as an alternative to military action, but added: “It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed.
“Any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force.”