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UPDATE: President Obama Will Seek Approval From Congress For Military Action In Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House has sent Congress a draft of a resolution authorizing President Barack Obama to use military force against Syria.
    
The draft follows through on Obama's decision, announced Saturday, to seek congressional approval for a strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
    
The resolution lays out the administration's claim that Assad's regime killed more than 1,000 last week in a chemical weapons attack. It says the objective of a U.S. military response would be to "deter, disrupt, prevent and degrade" the regime's ability to use chemical weapons going forward.
    
The resolution authorizes Obama to use the military as he determines "necessary and appropriate" to serve that goal.
    
The draft doesn't lay out a timeline for action. But it does say only a political settlement can resolve the Syrian crisis.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Senior administration officials say President Barack Obama had planned to take military action against Syria without congressional authorization, but told aides Friday night that he had changed his mind.
    
Obama announced Saturday that he wanted to launch a military strike, but would first seek lawmakers' approval.
    
The officials describe a president overriding all his top national security advisers, who believe consulting with Congress was sufficient.
    
The officials say Obama spent the week wrestling with Congress' role and made the decision Friday after a lengthy discussion with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough. They say Obama decided seeking approval would make the U.S. stronger even though he still believes he has the authority to act alone.
    
The administration officials requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss Obama's decision-making by name.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says he has decided that the United States should take military action against Syria in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack.
    
But he says he will seek congressional authorization for the use of force.
    
He says congressional leadership plans to hold a debate and a vote as soon as Congress comes back in September.
    
Obama says he has the authority to act on his own, but believes it is important for the country to have a debate.
    
Military action would be in response to a chemical weapons attack the U.S. says Syrian President Bashar Assad's government carried out against civilians. The U.S. says more than 1,400 Syrians were killed in that attack last week.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

DETAILS:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says President Barack Obama is getting ready to speak about Syria from the White House.
    
Obama has been considering a limited military strike against Syria, but he said Friday that he hadn't yet made a decision.
    
The strike would be in response to a chemical weapons attack the U.S. says Syrian President Bashar Assad's government carried out against Syrians. The U.S. says more than 1,400 Syrians were killed in that attack last week.
    
The White House is also briefing senators Saturday about Syria.
    
Obama's statement is set for 1:15 p.m. EDT Saturday.

UN: Syria attack timing idea 'grotesque'

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The top U.N. spokesman says any notion that the departure of the U.N. chemical weapons inspection team from Syria opens a window for a U.S. attack is "grotesque."
    
Spokesman Martin Nesirky notes that about 1,000 international and U.N. staff remain in Syria, and the United Nations is just as concerned about their welfare as it is about its team of inspectors. He also says the Syrian population would be vulnerable to harm.
    
Nesirky spoke at a news conference Saturday after U.N. disarmament chief Angela Kane briefed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the investigation into the alleged chemical weapons strike outside Damascus.
    
Nesirky says Ban will be briefed further by the head of the UN chemical weapons team Sunday. The team is in Europe and will have to analyze the evidence in laboratories before making their report.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's national security team is preparing to brief senators on Syria as the White House readies for a possible military strike.
    
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other officials arrived Saturday morning at the White House.
    
In the afternoon, senior officials plan to consult by phone with Senate Democrats and Republicans. The calls will be unclassified, meaning officials will be limited in what they can say.
    
Secretary of State John Kerry, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, also will participate.
    
The briefing comes a day after the administration released an intelligence report concluding that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government killed more than 1,400 last week in a chemical attack.
    
Obama says the U.S. is considering a limited strike in response.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - As the U.S. edges toward a possible punitive military strike against Syria, residents of Damascus are stocking up on food and other necessities with no evident sign of panic.
    
President Barack Obama said on Friday he's weighing "limited and narrow" action, accusing Bashar Assad's government of launching a chemical weapons attack that killed at least 1,429 people -- far more than previous estimates -- including more than 400 children.
    
The White House will brief Republican senators in a conference call Saturday at the request of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell.
    
The Syrian government says the administration claims are "flagrant lies" akin to faulty Bush administration assertions before the Iraq invasion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. A Foreign Ministry statement read on state TV said that "under the pretext of protecting the Syrian people, they are making a case for an aggression that will kill hundreds of innocent Syrian civilians."
    
One resident of Damascus says he's "not afraid from the Western threats to Syria." He says "they created the chemical issue as a pretext for intervention, and they are trying to hit Syria for the sake of Israel."
    
Obama said he has not yet made a final decision on a response to the suspected chemical attack. But he said it would not involve "boots on the ground."

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is looking to reassure Americans who may want to avoid additional military conflicts, after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says he's considering "limited and narrow" action against Syria -- but not a "boots-on-the-ground" approach. Obama told reporters that he has a strong preference for multilateral action. But France appears to be his only major ally for a possible strike on Syria.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week.
    
Obama says that attack was a challenge to the world and threatens U.S. national security.
    
Obama's comment came after the U.S. released an intelligence assessment that found with "high confidence" that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government carried out a chemical weapons attack last week.
    
The U.S. says the attack killed more than 1,400 people.
    
Obama spoke before meeting at the White House with three Baltic leaders.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. knows based on intelligence that the Syrian regime carefully prepared for days to launch a chemical weapons attack.
    
Kerry says Syrian regime personnel were on the ground for three days beforehand, making preparations.
    
He says regime elements were told to prepare by putting on gas masks.
    
Kerry says the U.S. also knows where the rockets were launched from. He says the rockets came from regime-controlled areas.
    
Kerry also says a senior regime official confirmed that the weapons were used and was afraid it would be discovered.

 The U.S. has released a public report on intelligence gathered about last week's deadly attack. President Barack Obama is preparing for a possible military strike in response.

Kerry: 1,429 killed in Syrian chemical attack

WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry says the chemical attack this month in Syria killed 1,429 people, including at least 426 children.
    
Those numbers are significantly higher than what Syrian activists and aid workers have reported from Syria.
    
The death toll is contained in a declassified intelligence assessment released by the Obama administration at the same time Kerry was speaking about the Syrian attack.
    
The administration blames the Syrian regime for the deaths.

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NBCNEWS.COM - Nearly 80 percent of Americans believe President Barack Obama should receive congressional approval before using force in Syria, but the nation is divided over the scope of any potential strike, a new NBC News poll shows.

Fifty percent of Americans believe the United States should not intervene in the wake of suspected chemical weapons attacks by Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to the poll.

But the public is more supportive of military action when it's limited to launching cruise missiles from U.S. naval ships - 50 percent favor that kind of intervention, while 44 percent oppose it.

The two-day survey was conducted as the Obama administration weighs launching strikes against Syria for the alleged use of chemicals weapons in its violent civil war, as well as amid growing demands by U.S. lawmakers that Congress should have a voice in any debate to authorize force.

On Thursday night, the Obama administration briefed congressional leaders in its effort to make the case for military intervention.

Also on Thursday, Britain's parliament rejected a motion urging an international response to the chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government. But White House officials told NBC News that the administration was prepared to go it alone. "As we've said, President Obama's decision-making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States," Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House and National Security Council, said in a statement.

In this new NBC poll, 50 percent of respondents oppose the United States taking military action in response to Syria's suspected use of chemical weapons, compared with 42 percent who support it. And 58 percent agree with the statement that the use of chemical weapons by any country violates a "red line" that requires a significant U.S. response, including the possibility of military action.

Still, a whopping 79 percent of respondents – including nearly seven-in-10 Democrats and 90 percent of Republicans – say the president should be required to receive congressional approval before taking any action.

The poll also finds that only 21 percent think taking action against the Syrian government is in the national interest of the United States. By comparison, 33 percent disagree and 45 percent don't know enough to have an opinion. And just 27 percent say that U.S. military force will improve the situation for Syrian civilians, versus 41 percent who say it won't.

The NBC poll also shows that President Obama's overall job-approval rating has dropped one point since last month to 44 percent, which is tied for his lowest mark in past NBC News/Wall Street Journal surveys.

He gets even lower marks on foreign policy: Just 41 percent approve of his handling of the issue – an all-time low. And only 35 percent approve of his handling of the situation in Syria.

The photos in the slideshow above are from NBC news.

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