Gen. Dempsey: Pressure on Syria's Assad to mount


(CBS News) Pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad is likely to mount after the United Nations Security Council unanimously rebuked the Syrian government for its role in the massacre of more than 100 civilians last week, President Obama's top military adviser said Monday.

"The events in Syria over the weekend are just horrific. Atrocious, really. I expect that the international community, that pressure will mount," Gen. Martin Dempsey said in an interview with "CBS This Morning."

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military official in the United States, said the United States would be prepared to act if all other options are exhausted.

"I think that diplomatic pressure should always precede any discussions about military options. And that is my job by the way, is options, not policy. And so, we will be prepared to provide (military) options if asked to do so," Dempsey said.

Without directly blaming the Syrian government for all of the deaths of villagers in the west central area of Houla on Friday, the U.N. Security Council on Sunday unanimously condemned government forces for using tanks and artillery against civilians despite a cease-fire in place since April 12.

U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Damascus Monday as activists reported more violence in the central city of Hama, where at least another 24 people were killed.

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Asked if anything short of military intervention would make a real impact on attempts to create peace, Dempsey said "That is always the question."

"I don't know whether in Syria's particular case, a combination of economic and diplomatic measures will achieve that. But I certainly encourage our leaders, the international leaders to take that course and try to come together in a way that would cause Assad to make the right decision," Dempsey told "CBS This Morning."