World News

Senate Panel OKs Military Strike on Syria



A key U.S. Senate panel has voted in favor of a possible military strike against Syria.

The Foreign Relations Committee voted 10 to 7 Wednesday to give President Barack Obama the authority to take military action against Syria for using chemical weapons on civilians.

The Senate resolution calls for limited action lasting no more than 90 days. It says no U.S. soldier would be put on the ground - an assurance to lawmakers who do not want the United States to become embroiled in another war.

The measure now goes to the full Senate. The House of Representatives must also vote on it.

Before the vote, Mr. Obama said in Stockholm that the international community's credibility is at stake if nothing is done about Syria..

The president said he did not set a "red line" in Syria but that the world did when it outlawed poison gas after World War One.



U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Syrian situation is unpredictable, complicated, and dangerous and that there is no guarantee about the outcome.

But he said Syria's weapons are a serious threat to America's national interests and a grave risk to its allies in the region. He also said he is concerned that Hezbollah, the terrorist group that backs the Assad regime, can get its hands on such weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday the U.S. Congress would be sanctioning "aggression" by approving the use of force against Syria. Mr. Putin also said Secretary of State John Kerry lied when he said the Syrian opposition had not become more infiltrated by al-Qaida.

However, the Kremlin leader said he might support a U.N. authorization of military force against Syria, if there is what he called "convincing" proof that Syrian forces used chemical weapons against civilians.

Syria denies using chemical weapons, and charges that any poison gas was used by rebels against Syrian troops.

((OPTIONAL SOUNDBITE

President Barack Obama:
"I do think we have to act, because if we do not, we are effectively saying that even though we may condemn it and issue resolutions and so forth and so on, somebody who is not shamed by resolutions can continue to act with impunity. And those international norms begin to erode, and other despots and authoritarian regimes can start looking and saying, 'That's something we can get away with.'"

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs