The U.S. president said a pushed-by-Russia offer to pressure President Bashar al-Assad to take away chemical weapons under international control raised the chances of putting off the limited military strike that he is planning.
“Over the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs,” Obama told reporters in the White House, trying to offer a clear case for why it is in Americans’ interests to intervene in Syria’s civil war.
President Obama asked the Congress to put off a voting regarding the use of military force to let diplomacy play out. However, he admitted that U.S. Navy ships in the eastern Mediterranean and other forces in the region are ready for actions.
In his Tuesday speech the U.S. president gave perhaps the most coherent expression of his Syria policy after a few weeks of muddled messages by his administration as opposition to a U.S. military strike mounted.
“If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons,” said Obama. “As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them.”
In the wake of the possible attack of U.S., the Assad government accepted the proposal from Russia earlier on Tuesday.
“It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed. And any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies,” said Obama.
The U.S. leader has even offered an argument for why he insists on military response to the Syrian chemical weapons onslaught. He portrayed deadly attack near Damascus which took lies of more than 1400 people including children in graphic terms.
“The images from this massacre are sickening: men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas; others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath; a father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk,” he said.
“This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective, deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s capabilities,” he said.He went on, adding that the planned military action would still have an impact, pushing back against some members of Congress who argue there is no point in doing a “pinprick” strike in Syria, Reuters reports.
“Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver,” he said.