President Barack Obama says he has decided the US should take military action against Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack that reportedly took over 1,400 lives. However, he will first seek authorization from Congress.
“While I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific Congressional authorisation, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective,” President Obama said.
Congress plans to hold a debate and a vote as soon as it returns on September 9, he added. Obama called on the Congressional leadership to make the decision based on US national security interests.
The US leader said the operation would be limited in duration, would seek to deter future chemical attacks and could happen “tomorrow, next week or next month.”
Obama stressed President Bashar Assad’s responsibility for the alleged strike outside Damascus on August 21. The Syrian government denies it was behind the attack and blames opposition forces.
The statement comes as the UN chemical inspection team left Syria after collecting samples and evidence at the sites of the reported attack. Spokesperson Martin Nesirky said that the UN team will return to the war-torn Arab country in order to examine all claims of chemical attacks.