Obama Wants US To Go It Alone in Syria, Will Ask Congress For Approval

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President Obama speaking outside the White House

President Barack Obama spoke today saying that the US should take military action against Syria. Obama state that he will seek congressional authorization for the intervention in the coming days. The BBC reports that America believes the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people killing almost 1500 people. The unclassified report showed that:

  • the attacks killed 1,429 people, including 426 children

  • Syrian military chemical weapons personnel were operating in the area in the three days before the attack

  • Satellite evidence shows rockets launched from government-held areas 90 minutes before the first report of chemical attack

  • 100 videos attributed to the attack show symptoms consistent with exposure to a nerve agent

  • Communications were intercepted involving a senior Damascus official who "confirmed chemical weapons were used" and was concerned about UN inspectors obtaining evidence

The BBC report continues:

Mr Obama said the operation would be limited in duration and strong to deter future chemical attacks. Congress is due to re-open on 9 September.

The Syrian government denies it was behind the attacks and blames rebels.

UN inspectors have now left Syria with samples from site visits, which will go to laboratories in Europe for testing.

President Obama said the military operation could happen tomorrow, next week or in the near future.

"We cannot and will not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus," he said.

As commander-in-chief, Mr Obama has the constitutional authority to order military action without the backing of Congress.

However, he said it was important to have the debate.

The House of Representatives will debate possible actions against Syria in the week after 9 September, Speaker John Boehner said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell welcomed the president's announcement, saying his role as commander-in-chief was "always strengthened when he enjoys the expressed support of the Congress".

More to follow.