U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday that not taking action is not a choice in Syria after last month’s chemical weapons attack, urging lawmakers to back military strikes against the regime.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen in Syria,” said Obama in his weekly address, according to AFP.
“That's why I call on members of Congress, from both parties, to come together and stand up for the kind of world we want to live in; the kind of world we want to leave our children and future generations,” added the president.
Congress returns from recess on Monday and Obama will address the nation on Tuesday regarding a possible response to last month’s chemical attacks that killed on 1,400 outside of the Syrian capital Damascus.
Despite support from Republican grandees such as John McCain, a senator and former 2008 presidential candidate, Obama has already acknowledged that convincing lawmakers to support military action against the Syrian government would be a “heavy lift.”
According to a survey by the U.S.-based daily Washington Post, as of Friday, 224 of the current 433 House of Representatives members were either “no” or “leaning “no” on military action. 184 were undecided, with just 25 in favor of military action.
Additionally, one poll showed that 51 of American oppose strikes in Syria compared to 36 percent in favour, a larger opposition ratio that previous conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo.
“This was not only a direct attack on human dignity; it is a serious threat to our national security,” said Obama.
“That's why, last weekend, I announced that, as commander in chief, I decided that the United States should take military action against the Syrian regime.”
Obama also stressed the important of congressional authorization, because “our country will be stronger if we act together, and our actions will be more effective.”
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote next week on allowing a limited attack, while the House of Representatives will vote within the next two weeks, according to Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.