Obama: We must make sure all steps lead to Assad's exit

U.S. President Barack Obama said that before taking action in Syria the U.S. must ensure that every step taken leads to Bashar al-Assad's exit, according to a press conference on Thursday.

President Obama spoke to reporters on Thursday as part of a joint press conference with Mexican President Pena Nieto. When asked about recent comments made by administration officials about whether or not the U.S. would send weapons to the Syrian rebels, President Obama said the U.S. will carefully consider that step after a comprehensive evaluation.

"As we've seen evidence of further bloodshed, potential use of chemical weapons inside of Syria, what I've said is, is that we're going to look at all options," Obama said. "And we know that there are countries that are currently providing lethal aid to the opposition. We also know that the Assad regime is getting not just lethal aid but also training and support from countries outside of Syria. And we want to evaluate and make sure that every step that we take advances the day when Assad is gone and you have people inside of Syria who are able to determine their own destiny rather than engage in a long, bloody sectarian war."

The U.S. has made significant investments in providing humanitarian aid to the Syrian opposition and to help the opposition organize itself and form a consistent vision. Before providing lethal aid to the opposition, President Obama said the U.S. must be absolutely sure it's making the right decision.

"As I mentioned in my press conference back in D.C., we want to make sure that we look before we leap and that what we're doing is actually helpful to the situation as opposed to making it more deadly or more complex," Obama said.