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Kerry says US weighing Syria options

John Kerry’s first news conference as secretary of state
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Secretary of State John Kerry, right, spoke alongside Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird during the news conference.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. is evaluating new options to halt Syria’s civil war. But he isn’t saying anything at this point about giving weapons to rebels fighting President Bashar Assad’s regime.

In his first news conference as secretary, Kerry says the Obama administration is ‘‘deeply distressed’’ by Syria’s violence and is weighing diplomatic and other steps to stem the killing.

Kerry wouldn’t specifically address a question about the administration’s previous debates over providing military aid.

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Top Pentagon leaders on Thursday for the first time that they backed the idea but that President Barack Obama opposed such action.