News / Middle East

    Top US Lawmakers Voice Support for Syria Strike

    President Barack Obama, flanked by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio (L) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, speaks to the media before a meeting at the White House with lawmakers on the situation in Syria.
    President Barack Obama, flanked by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio (L) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, speaks to the media before a meeting at the White House with lawmakers on the situation in Syria.
    VOA News
    Top U.S. lawmakers from both parties say they will support President Barack Obama in a military intervention against Syria when the issue comes to a vote as early as next week.
     
    U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made the comments after a White House meeting with Obama on Tuesday.
     
    Boehner, leader of the Republican party in the House of Representatives, says the United States has the capability to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and must send a warning to other countries that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.
     
    Nancy Pelosi, who leads Obama's Democratic Party in the House, said Syria's use of chemical weapons was outside of the "circle of civilized behavior." She said the United States must respond.
     
    The Syrian government has denied chemical weapons use by its military.

    Syria: Damascus Areas of Influence and Areas Reportedly Affected by 21 August Chemical AttackSyria: Damascus Areas of Influence and Areas Reportedly Affected by 21 August Chemical Attack
    x
    Syria: Damascus Areas of Influence and Areas Reportedly Affected by 21 August Chemical Attack
    Syria: Damascus Areas of Influence and Areas Reportedly Affected by 21 August Chemical Attack
    Heading into the session, Obama said he was confident he could work with Congress to get a resolution authorizing military action.
     
    He said he was asking Congress to approve a "proportional, limited" military response that would send a "clear message" to Assad's regime and any other country interested in "testing international norms."
     
    "We recognize that there are certain weapons that when used can not only end up resulting in grotesque deaths but also can end up being transmitted to non-state actors, can pose a risk to allies and friends of ours, like Israel, like Jordan, like Turkey."
     
    Obama also said the U.S. had a "broader strategy" that involves upgrading the capabilities of the Syrian opposition.

    U.S. military assets that could be used in an operation in Syria.U.S. military assets that could be used in an operation in Syria.
    x
    U.S. military assets that could be used in an operation in Syria.
    U.S. military assets that could be used in an operation in Syria.
    The meeting began a day of intense outreach to the Congress, including a scheduled appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.
     
    Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, said before that hearing she is fully supportive of Obama's intended action.
     
    The White House says Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed their "grave concern" about Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons during a phone call late Monday. The White House says the two leaders agreed that any use of chemical weapons is a "serious violation of international norms" and cannot be tolerated.
     
    French President Francois Hollande said he will wait to see if Obama receives support from Congress before deciding on a French role in any military intervention. France, earlier, voiced support for military strikes against the Syrian government.
     
    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon scheduled a briefing later Tuesday for members of the Security Council.
     
    Ban has met with the head of a U.N. inspection team that was in Syria last week collecting samples from last month's suspected chemical attack near Damascus, which killed at least 1,400 people. The samples were sent to labs on Monday for analysis.
     
    Assad denies his military was responsible for the use of chemical weapons, saying the United States and France have no proof to back up their allegations.

    • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network shows anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a poster depicting U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Kafr Nabil, Idlib province, Sept. 20, 2013.
    • Children sit along a damaged street filled with debris in the besieged area of Homs, Sept. 19, 2013.
    • Debris is seen on the ground after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
    • An injured man walks along a street after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
    • This citizen journalism image provided by The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad shows a Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
    • A member of the Shohadaa Badr Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, stands in shooting position behind sandbags in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, September 17, 2013.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble inside the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he stands on rubble of damaged buildings in al-Aseela neighborhood near Aleppo's historic citadel, Sept. 13, 2013.
    • In this citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen, a Syrian protester chants slogans during a demonstration in Arbeen, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 13, 2013.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: JohnWV from: USA
    September 04, 2013 2:16 PM
    Syria killed a few hundred with chemical weapons. Israel, our "inseparable ally," ghettoized over a million and killed hundreds of times more than Syria, often with chemicals (white phosphorous) and other internationally illegal weapons. The scourge of the Mid-East is Israel, not Syria.

    by: Emmett Barcalow from: Amherst, MA
    September 03, 2013 5:29 PM
    It was President Nixon who said that unless we continued to fight in Vietnam our credibility would be gone and we would appear to be a pitiful helpless giant. Is protecting
    credibility" really a just cause for war? Have we learned nothing?

    by: nigel cairns from: san diego
    September 03, 2013 3:53 PM
    So despite the US use of depleted uranium in iraq and napalm in Vietnam the US is still virtuous enough to criticize others.
    WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE OF GAS ATTACKS?
    WHY DOES THE US SEE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO 'LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD'?

    by: maria from: Israel
    September 03, 2013 1:53 PM
    I live in Israel and have , to put it mildly , a very objective attitude towards Israeli policy, politicians, and the issue of the so-called ethical identity. But for objectivity sake I declare with in full confidence that Israel is being victimized in the game waged and staged by The USA film director from the White House. I detest all these religious mutinies, rebellions, insurgency, and other religious and ethnic and geopolitical atrocities. But this is just the time to take an objective perspective. Israel has nothing to do the the scenario and of this political " musical" which is about to be released next week. This is for the first time when I support Israel and even Bibi Netanyahu who is not my best friend.This is for the first time when Israel is being ditched by US and are going to play the part of a scape goat, ironically and coincidentally. I have always supported all US operations, naively believing in their righteousness, but it is about time we changed the perspective. Talking ethnicity terms , I am ethnically Russian according to Tora, and moreover I am not into religion whatsoever.
    In Response

    by: gig24
    September 04, 2013 10:58 AM
    Bibi is gonna be the western civilized world's friend.Obviously not yours.Bi-Bi maintains absolute cool head and reasonability at all times. He knows and i know,it's coming a lot worse ! Wait for the North Korean UN report in a few days,you will understand the communist agenda much clearer.

    by: Haron from: Afghanistan
    September 03, 2013 8:52 AM
    I demand from Barak Obama to pass up from this war. and help Bashar-Ul-Asad to build his country again. i am 23 years old boy with full of pain in my heart from these wars. i am very tired when i hear that France or US want to attack on Syria. I am Hanifi (Sunni) Muslim. but, I admit that Shia't are civilized people more than Jewish and Sunni Muslims. and all around the world must be aware that every action by west on any country can be impact on US soldiers in Afghanistan. so, I say that world must change their news from Syria to a fantastic news such as (sport. agriculture, cinema) or other things.

    by: alan k from: michigan
    September 03, 2013 7:40 AM
    war war we want war . no matter if we are right or wrong we want war no matter how many of or soldiers get killed we want war

    by: eddie from: ny
    September 03, 2013 7:39 AM
    stay out of Syria !! its not our problem!!
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    September 03, 2013 12:38 PM
    That is the problem - leave it to them. hope you do this in every other aspect not just to leave Syria's problem for Syrians to solve.

    by: JohnWV from: USA
    September 03, 2013 7:15 AM
    NO MORE WARS! Continuing Mideast violence enables Israel's pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and racist empire in addition to ever increasing Israeli/Jewish control of America's government, finances and military-industrial complex. The Jewish state has occupied not just Palestine, but America too. Our government is being overthrown from within and our country transformed into a world dominating racist ultra-power, the JEWISH STATE OF AMERICA.
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    September 03, 2013 12:41 PM
    Hatred of Israel leads you nowhere. Can you explain to the Americans what your contribution to the growth of its GDP is. How much tax do you even pay? Can you create jobs - how much can you contribute to the economy?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora