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Strike against Syria? Obama backs it, but wants Congress to vote

US President Barack Obama has formally asked Congress to authorise military action against Syria over alleged chemical weapons attacks - reports BBC.

He said any operation would be limited, ruling out a ground invasion. Congress is to reconvene on 9 September.

This comes after Washington claimed it had evidence that 1,429 people were killed in chemical attacks by the Syrian army on 21 August.

The Syrian government gave no immediate reaction to Mr Obama's announcement.

Damascus had earlier condemned the US allegations and blamed the rebels for the attacks.

In a statement at the White House on Saturday, President Obama said that he decided that the US "should take action against Syrian regime targets".

As commander-in-chief, Mr Obama has the constitutional authority to launch strikes without the backing of Congress - the Senate and the House of Representatives.

However, he said it was important to have the debate.

"I've long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

"And that's why I've made a second decision: I will seek authorisation for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress," he said.

Senior White House officials told the BBC's Katty Kay that Mr Obama's decision to seek congressional approval was made by the president on Friday afternoon. It had not been planned until then.

The officials added that they believed they would get congressional approval, although they were aware of the risks, our correspondent adds.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said the chamber "will engage in this critical debate right away", pledging the vote on the proposal would take place no later than the week of 9 September.

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