Washington, Sep 1 — Failing to find support at home and abroad for military action in a hurry against Syria, US President Barack Obama said Saturday he will seek the approval of Congress before carrying out a military strike.
The United States “should take military action against Syrian targets” for its alleged use of chemical weapons in an Aug 21 attack on areas controlled by the opposition, he said in a Rose Garden address Saturday with Vice President Biden standing by his side.
However, before carrying out a military strike against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime, he would seek Congressional approval when Congress returns from recess, Obama said.
Congressional leaders have agreed to schedule a debate and vote when they return to session, he said. They are scheduled to return from their summer recess Sep 9.
Obama did not say if he’d forgo a strike if Congress rejects his call to action.
“This attack is an assault on human dignity,” Obama said. “It also presents a serious danger to our national security.”
“Over the last several days, we’ve heard from several members of Congress who want their voices to be heard,” he said. “I absolutely agree.”
The remarks came amid a flurry of briefings for sceptical lawmakers by the president’s national security team.
The shouts from hundreds of activists outside the White House protesting against military action could be heard from the Rose Garden shortly before Obama spoke.
The remarks came hours after UN experts investigating the alleged chemical weapons strike outside Damascus Aug 21, which US intelligence reports say left 1,429 people dead, including 426 children, left for Netherlands.
They have taken blood and urine samples from victims and soil samples from areas where chemical attacks have been reported.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])