Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Wednesday a redrafted resolution authorizing the president to launch a military strike on Syria aimed specifically at preventing regime forces from using chemical weapons and supporting rebels.
The approval by 10-7 vote sends the resolution to the Senate floor for voting. Seven Democrats and three Republicans voted “yes” to the measure while five Republicans and two Democrats voted “no.” A separate House version is also under consideration.
The Senate committee resolution drafted Tuesday night initially provides for a 90-day military action against the Syrian government without sending troops on the ground, except for emergency rescue. The aim was to reduce if not eliminate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s capability to use chemical weapons.
On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) added an amendment authorizing President Barack Obama to reinforce the Free Syrian Army’s capability in fighting Assad’s forces.
The approval came hours after Obama said in a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden that the credibility of the U.S. Senate and the international community is at stake if no response is taken against the Syrian regime for gassing to death 1,400 civilians in a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21. Obama said he did not set the red line against the use of chemical weapons in Syria but rather it was the world, when countries passed a treaty forbidding them, and Congress, when it ratified that convention.
Obama is in Sweden for an official visit and as part of his attendance to the Group of 20 summit in Moscow, Russia from Sept. 5 to 6.