President Barack Obama revealed his plans for Syria on Saturday, including his desire to launch an airstrike in retaliation for alleged chemical weapons use in the country.
However, Obama stated that he will seek congressional approval for the airstrike once lawmakers return from their summer recess on September 9.
The US president also noted that he believes he has the authority to carry out the strike without approval, reports CBS News. But he added that America will be “stronger” if he does ask.
The potential US military strike in Syria would be a response to an incident on August 21 where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces allegedly used chemical weapons to kill about 1,400 people. Of those, almost 450 were children.
President Obama called the attack an “assault on human dignity,” adding, “In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted. After careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets.”
NBC News notes that it was apparently a last minute decision to ask for the approval of Congress. Sources told the news organization that President Obama made the decision while taking a walk on Friday evening with his chief of staff Denis McDonough.
In explaining his plans for Syria, President Obama added, “Over the last several days, we have heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard. I absolutely agree… We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual.”
President Obama pledged that any potential military action would be of “limited duration and scope.” He went on to say, “This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground.”
The US president also made it clear that the military is in position to carry out the strike should it receive the order to do so. Syrian rebels did not appear satisfied with President Obama’s decision. One spokesman stated, “President Obama is sending contradictory messages. He promised to help, and now promises delays.”
It is unclear what the impact of President Obama’s Syria plans will be.
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