WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday called Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to discuss the use of chemical weapons in Syria's internal conflict, as Obama is considering military strikes against the Arab nation in response.
In their phone conversation, the two leaders "expressed their grave concern about the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against civilians" near Damascus, capital of Syria, on Aug. 21, the White House said in a statement.
It said they discussed "possible responses" to the attack and agreed to continue close consultations over Syria.
Obama called British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande over the weekend as his administration was considering a series of military options, ranging from a cruise missile strike to a more sustained air campaign against Syria.
The U.S. Navy now has four warships armed with cruse missiles in the Mediterranean.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement on Monday afternoon, saying that the chemical weapons use against civilians in Syria is "inexcusable" and "undeniable," and that Obama will make an "informed" decision on how to respond.
"Indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity," Kerry said.
The Syrian opposition accused government forces of killing as many as 1,300 people in chemical weapon attacks in suburbs of Damascus last Wednesday, an allegation denied and countercharged by the Syrian government.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday warned the Western powers against military strikes on Syria, calling the move "a very dangerous and slippery path."