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White House: U.S. Interests To Guide Syria Decision, Suggests U.S. Could Act Alone

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US President Barack Obama walks on the South Lawn at the White House August 22, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama will travel through New York and Pennsylvania on a two-day bus tour to discuss improving the value of higher education for middle-class students and their families. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty

WASHINGTON -- The White House says President Barack Obama's decision on a possible military strike against Syria will be guided by America's best interests, suggesting the U.S. may act alone if other nations won't help.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Thursday that Obama believes there are core U.S. interests at stake in Syria. She said countries who violate international norms about chemical weapons must be held accountable.

The White House was responding to a failed vote in Britain's Parliament on Thursday to endorse military action against Syria over an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week. That means Britain won't play a direct role in any U.S. attack.

The defeat dealt a major blow to Obama's efforts to build an international coalition for a strike against the Syrian government.

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