President Obama responded to reporters' questions at a press conference held in Russia on Friday, and it's no surprise that Syria dominated the conversation. A reporter from the Associated Press asked the president to identify which countries expressed support for taking action against Syria for its apparent gassing of hundreds of people. 


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In his response, the president said that a source of divide comes in regards to the involvement of the United Nations. Some nations feel, the president stated, that any action taken against Syria should come only after a resolution is passed by the Security Council. However, the president said he "puts himself in the camp" of those nations who believe that if "we are serious about upholding a ban on chemical weapons," then action must be taken ... and such action will not come through a UN resolution.

President Obama continued, stating that he would "greatly prefer" working through the United Nations, but "ultimately, what I believe in even more deeply ... because I think that the security of the world [...] requires that when there's a breach this brazen, of a norm this important, and [...] the international community is paralyzed and frozen and doesn't act ... then that norm begins to unravel."


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If the world allows the norm to unravel to a greater degree, he said, this would lead to a "dangerous world."

In an emphatic moment, the president reiterated the shocking statistics.


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"Over 1,400 people were gassed. [pause] Over 400 of them were children. [pause] This is not something we've fabricated," he said.

"I was elected to end wars, not start them. I've spent the last four years doing everything I can to reduce our reliance on military power to meet our international obligations and protect the American people. But what I also know is that there are times when we have to make hard choices to stand up for what we believe in."