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
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    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.

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    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?

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