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Protests Grow As US Prepares to Strike Syria

Opponents of U.S. military intervention in Syria have taken to the streets in protest.

Anti-war demonstrations were held Saturday outside the White House in Washington and in other countries including France, Germany, Britain, Australia, Jordan and Turkey, a day after the U.S. government presented its report on the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians. There also were demonstrations in support of military action against Syria.

Syrian allies expressed support for the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said it would be "utter nonsense" for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons when it was winning the war against rebels. He urged the United States to present any evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria to the United Nations.

An Iranian delegation visited Damascus Saturday to consult with the Syrian government, following a similar visit Friday by an official delegation from Yemen.

But some world leaders also expressed support for military action. British Prime Minister David Cameron sought but failed to get parliament's approval for Britain's participation in a strike on Syria, but he said he supports the U.S. president's decision not to let the Syrian government go unpunished for war crimes.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr expressed confidence that the Obama administration has carefully weighed an appropriate response.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a volunteer coalition to stop the killings in Syria. In a televised speech Saturday, he also criticized Russia and China for blocking a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria.

The Syrian government has denied using chemical weapons and is accusing the opposition of using them. The Assad government also threatened to retaliate for any foreign military attack.

President Barack Obama is seeking international support for military action that would hold Syria accountable for its use of chemical weapons and deter such behavior. But he said the United States may act alone if necessary.


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