It remained unclear on Thursday whether a U.S. Senate committee-passed resolution on use of force against Syria would win endorsement on the Senate floor or if an alternate measure would pass in the House of Representatives, which are expected to debate potential strikes against the Middle East nation next week, USA Today reported.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday backed President Obama’s proposal to employ armed force against President Bashar Assad’s regime, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Obama’s high-stakes political push for military intervention in Syria has gained little traction among GOP members of the lower chamber, despite winning the support of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) earlier this week. Some of the president’s longtime Democratic allies also are among the proposal’s greatest critics, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Questions also persisted on the scope and tactics of a possible attack, according to the Journal. The text approved on Wednesday by the Senate committee states that any military action against Assad’s government should last no longer than 90 days. However, it would also commit Washington to altering “the momentum on the battlefield” in Syria’s civil war, now in its third year.
Despite the proposed strike’s stated aim of punishing Assad’s regime for allegedly using nerve gas to kill more than 1,400 people late last month and deterring future such attacks, Secretary of State John Kerry said the action would have a “downstream collateral benefit” of eroding the Syrian government’s armed forces capabilities.
The Defense Department previously said it would not plan to employ bomber aircraft in a potential attack, but the Pentagon is now examining possible use of such planes in addition to four missile-equipped warships fielded off the Syrian coast, the Journal reported. An offensive might involve missile-capable B-1 or B-52 bombers, or B-2 aircraft able to accommodate large gravity munitions.
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Senator John McCain paid a secret visit to Northern Syria over the weekend during his trip abroad. McCain reportedly went "to speak with American officials and Kurdish fighters leading the charge to push ISIS militants out of Raqqa, the jihadist group’s stronghold." The trip was organized with the help of U.S. military.
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