Washington: American lawmakers have pushed for their say on any decision on Syria, as the Obama Administration prepares itself for a possible military strike against Damascus in response to alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.
"The views of Congress are important to the President's decision-making process, and we will continue to engage with Members as the President reaches a decision on the appropriate US response to the Syrian government's violation of international norms against the use of chemical weapons," the White House said in a statement after a conference call with lawmakers.
During the call, which lasted for 90 minutes, Congressmen said there needs to be more consultation and additional transparency into the decision making process and timing, and that the case needs to be made to the American people. "It is clear that the American people are weary of war.
However, Assad gassing his own people is an issue of our national security, regional stability and global security. We must be clear that the United States rejects the use of chemical weapons by Assad or any other regime," Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said.
"What Assad has done is outside the realm of basic human rights. On this evening's call, I expressed my appreciation for the measured, targeted and limited approach the President may be considering," Pelosi said, adding the Congressmen were assured there would be ongoing consultation with Congress.
Syrian opposition and the West have accused President Bashar Al-Assad's government of using chemical weapons last week in a Damascus suburb, a charge denied by the government. The House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said he continues to be deeply concerned about the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons – action which demands outrage from the international community and cannot be tolerated.
"I appreciate the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to keep Congress informed of latest developments and to work with us to determine the best course of action ahead," he said. Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime requires a decisive response.
"Our national security interests, those of our allies, and regional stability are at risk as Syria is disintegrating into a failed state. This is not a moment to look the other way, to blind ourselves to the horrifying images in Syria, and to send the dangerous message to the global community that we would allow the use of a chemical weapons attack to take place with impunity," he said.