Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Republican and Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives have thrown their support to President Barack Obama’s military response to alleged gassing of civilians by forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced their position to Obama’s plan to degrade Assad’s capabilities and upgrade that of the Syrian opposition’s after meeting the president at the White House on Tuesday.
In the meeting with the House leaders and the chairmen and ranking members of the House defense, intelligence, and foreign relations committees to make his case, Obama requested a quick vote on what he called “targeted military action” on Syria saying that a joint action by White House and Congress will be more effective and stronger.
“It is proportional. It is limited. It does not involve boots on the ground,” he said, according to The Hill.
Boehner said only the U.S. is capable of stopping Assad as the United Nations and NATO are not taking action.
“This is something the United States, as a country, needs to do. I’m going to support the president’s call for action. I believe my colleagues should support this call for action,” CBS News quoted the Speaker as saying.
Pelosi also said the U.S. must respond on humanitarian and national security grounds.
Boehner and Pelosi, however, said Obama still have to convince other legislators to take his side.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) also backed the use of military force “to prevent further instability in a region of vital interest to the United States.”
Although Obama has the executive power to launch the military response against Syria, he decided on Saturday to get congressional approval. The Congress is on recess and will resume session on Sept. 9.
Meanwhile, the UN is rushing analysis of biomedical and environmental samples collected by a UN chemical weapons inspection team in Syria to verify if chemical weapons was used in the ongoing civil war, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday. Ban said the inspection aims to determine if toxic gas was used and not the identification of the user.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Tuesday 2 million people left Syria to avoid the civil war while 4.25 million who are still in Syria have been displaced. The UNHCR also said 5,000 Syrians are fleeing to neighboring countries each day.
As of end of August, the agency counted 716,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 515,000 in Jordan, 460,000 in Turkey, 168,000 in Iraq and 110,000 in Egypt,