US President Barack Obama cleared the first hurdle Wednesday, September 4, in his race to win domestic congressional backing for strikes to punish Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Bashar al-Assad’s defiant regime vowed to retaliate against any US action, but the White House won the support of a key Senate panel for its plan for a limited military response. The US Congress could vote as early as next week to authorize action, but the threat has done nothing to calm the chaos on the ground, and refugees continue to flee Syria. The UN refugee agency and four states which have taken in hundreds of thousands issued a plea for the international community to end the “cycle of horror.” Senate leaders said the full chamber will vote next week on the motion, and Obama is expected to carry the day — his Democratic supporters hold a majority in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, however, where Obama’s Republican opponents hold a majority, a tougher vote is expected. It will begin its consideration next week. Both parties are divided, with isolationists and libertarians joining anti-war liberals in opposing intervention and neoconservative hawks urging Obama to go further.
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Read the UN’s plea to end the ‘cycle of horror’ on Rappler.