UPDATE: Obama: Syria Changed when Assad Gassed Citizens

By: AP
By: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says he long resisted calls for military action in Syria but that the situation changed after Syria's government gassed its own citizens.

Obama on Tuesday used a televised address to the nation to explain his thinking on the ongoing fighting in Syria. He said the use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21 requires the United States to respond with a military strike to deter future use of such weapons.

Obama said no one disputes that chemical weapons were used and said thousands of Syrians have died from them. He said the images and videos of men, women and children are sickening and demand a response.

Obama said, quoting, "We cannot resolve someone else's civil war through force" but said the United States could protect Syrian children.


NEW: Obama: No ground troops, air campaign in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is pledging that he won't deploy ground combat troops or wage a prolonged air campaign against Syria.

In his speech to the nation Tuesday seeking public support for a possible military strike against President Bashar Assad's (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) government, the president also promised he would not pursue an open-ended military action.

Obama said he realized that many Americans were weary of military action after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said the limitations he was imposing on the potential strike would ensure against the U.S. sliding down a slippery slope into another prolonged war.

Obama made his remarks as U.S. officials explore whether a Russian proposal to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control might work, and as the administration seeks congressional support for an attack.


NEW: Obama: Military to maintain current posture

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has ordered the U.S. military to maintain its current posture to keep the pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime should diplomacy fail.

In his televised address Tuesday night, the president outlined his plans to respond to the use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb last month that the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 people. Obama says he's working closely with world leaders.

He says he's continuing discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with his Russian counterpart on Thursday. Obama also says he's speaking with leaders of France and Britain and will work with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the United Nations Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons.


Diplomatic effort bogs down over demands for binding UN resolution

BEIRUT (AP) -- A Russian plan under which Syria would turn over its chemical weapons in order to avoid Western missile strikes is hitting some snags.

The plan bogged down today when Moscow rejected U.S. and French demands for a binding U.N. resolution that would include "very severe consequences" for non-compliance.

The proposal would put the chemical weapons of the Bashar Assad regime under international control, before they are eventually destroyed. The initiative appeared to offer a way out of a crisis that raised the prospect of U.S.-led military action against Syria, in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack last month.

But world powers have been haggling over how the plan would be enforced. France and the U.S. are wary of falling into what the French foreign minister calls a "trap." And they're pushing for a U.N. Security Council resolution to verify Syria's disarmament.

The prospect of a deal that could be enforced militarily met with swift opposition from Russia.

Syria's foreign minister, during a visit to Moscow today, said Syria would place its chemical weapons locations in the hands of representatives of Russia, other unspecified countries and the United Nations.


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