U.S. says attack on Syria aims to kill Assad's 'way to victory'

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The anticipated U.S. military strike on Syria and an increase of support for the armed opposition would aim to stop a campaign by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime allies “to kill their way to victory,” a senior U.S. official said Friday.

“This operation combined with ongoing efforts to upgrade the military capabilities of the moderate opposition should reduce the regime’s faith that they can kill their way to victory,” U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said, according to AFP.

Power added that Assad had barely dented his stockpile of chemical weapons in an alleged attack near Damascus last month, Reuters reported.

“We assess that although Assad used more chemical weapons on August 21 than he had before, he has barely put a dent in his enormous stockpile,” she said at the Center for American Progress think tank in Washington.

“We have exhausted the alternatives” to military action, she said, adding that Assad must have weighed the fact that Russia would back him in the controversy over his alleged use of chemical weapons and it was naive to think Russia would change.

While again slamming the U.N. Security Council’s paralysis over the war, Power added: “In this instance the use of limited military force can strengthen our diplomacy and energize the efforts of the U.N. and others to achieve a negotiated settlement to the underlying conflict.”

With doubts raised about the legality of any strike, which Congress is to debate next week, the U.S. envoy did not offer any legal justification for military action, which is also bitterly opposed by Russia, AFP reported.

“It is clear that Syria is one of those occasions, like Kosovo, where the council is so paralyzed that countries have to act outside it if they are to prevent the flouting of international laws and morals,” Power said.