A Senate panel has voted to give President Barack Obama the authority to use military force against Syria.
The 18-member Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7. One senator only voted as “present”. The resolution which authorizes the Obama administration to launch a military strike on Syria is expected to come before the two chambers of Congress for a final vote next week. According to the resolution, President Obama’s “tailored” military action should not engage American soldiers for ground military missions and exceed 90 days. The vote is the first in a series as Obama’s plan for a “limited” military action on Syria is being considered in congressional panels. It is also the first vote after American lawmakers gave President George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq back in October 2002. The fate of the resolution, however, is in the balance in the Congress as many lawmakers have not yet supported the measure. According to ABC news, only 21 senators have so far put their weight behind the bill. The Wednesday vote came after US Secretary of State John Kerry briefed the committee behind closed doors. Kerry along with the Pentagon chief, Chuck Hagel then appeared at a panel of the House of Representatives in order to convince them back Obama’s plan for attacking Syria. During the meeting Kerry revealed that certain Arab countries have offered to help pay for any US military action in Syria "With respect to Arab countries offering to bear the cost and to assist, the answer is profoundly yes, they have. That offer is on the table,” he said. The US and some of its allies accuse the Syrian government of carrying out a chemical attack against its own people on the outskirts of Damascus last month and are paving the ground for what President Obama calls a “tailored and limited” military action against the Arab nation. Damascus has rejected the allegations as baseless and accused the foreign backed militants of being behind the attack. Meanwhile, the UN has not yet announced the result of its findings after its experts who were in Syria at the invitation of Damascus probed the site of the chemical attack.