US Senate revises Syria resolution to set time limit on military action, bar ground troops

4th Sep 2013

WASHINGTON, (Xinhua): The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee reached an agreement Tuesday on a revised resolution on authorizing military action in Syria, setting a time limit and barring U.S. ground troops in the war-torn country.

The draft, agreed by the committee’s chairman Robert Menendez and Republican ranking member Bob Corker, sets a time limit of 60 days on U.S. military action in Syria with the option for a single 30-day extension.

The resolution also states that no U.S. troops would be deployed for combat operations in Syria.

Menendez said in a statement late Tuesday that the committee could hold a vote on the resolution as early as Wednesday. “With this agreement, we are one step closer to granting the president the authority to act in our national security interest,” he said.

The draft will replace the one introduced by the Obama administration over the weekend after President Barack Obama announced Saturday to seek congressional approval for launching a limited military strike against Syria to punish it for the alleged use of chemical weapons outside Damascus on Aug. 21.

Washington has held the Syrian government responsible for perpetrating the attack, which U.S. intelligence report claims that killed 1,429 people, including 426 children.

The Obama administration is gearing up for its campaign to persuade lawmakers to support its military action in Syria, citing the need to deter Syrian government from further using chemical weapons, and other rogue countries from using weapons of mass destruction.

Some lawmakers have complained that the language of the Obama administration’s original resolution authorizing use of force against Syria was too broad and could lead to the U.S. involvement in an open-ended conflict.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday made the case for a military strike against Syria, insisting inaction would undermine U.S. credibility and endangering its allies in the region, such as Israel and Turkey.

“This is not the time for armchair isolationism … We have spoken up against unspeakable horror. Now we must stand up and act,” Kerry told the lawmakers.

The possibility of having U.S. “boots on the ground” in Syria was a major element of the hearing, after Kerry briefly suggested a scenario in which U.S. troops might have to keep chemical weapons out of the hands of al Qaida-affiliated groups.

But Kerry quickly backtracked and said he wanted to be “crystal clear” the administration would agree to revising the Syria resolution so that U.S. troops have “no capacity” in Syria’ s civil war.


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