US Senate Panel Approves Syria Strike
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The foreign relations committee of the US Senate approved a resolution authorizing the use of force against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad for its alleged use of chemical weapons.
The committee on Wednesday approved a resolution 10-7, with one senator voting "present". The vote by the panel clears the way for a vote on the resolution in the full Senate, likely next week.
Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett, reporting from Washington D.C., said the approval was a boost for the US president, Barack Obama, as he sought to gain congressional approval for the use of force.
However, she added that the vote was delayed by about two hours, suggesting some disagreements. The full Senate vote could also prove problematic, she added, with John McCain, a leading Republican, saying he could not vote for the resolution as it stood as it did not go far enough.
McCain ealier said he wanted more than cruise missile strikes and other limited action, seeking a stronger response aimed at "reversing the momentum on the battlefield" and hastening Assad's departure.
The Democratic chairman of the committee, Bob Menendez, and the panel's top Republican, Bob Corker, drafted the resolution, which was significantly different to that which was tabled by the president.
It would allow Obama to order a limited military mission against Syria, as long as it does not exceed 90 days and involves no US troops on the ground for combat operations.
Obama had asked the US Congress to sanction his plan to launch military strikes against Assad in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb on August 21.
Assad has denied responsibility for the attack, instead pinning the blame on rebels fighting his government.