US Senate panel authorises Syria strike

Washington, Sept 5: US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday passed a resolution to authorise a military strike against Syria.

The panel voted 10-7 to pass the resolution, and Senator Edward Markey voted present. The vote clears the way for a full Senate vote, likely to take place next week, Xinhua reported.

The resolution limits hostilities to 60 days, with the option for a 30-day extension, and narrows the conflict inside Syria's borders, while forbids US ground troops to engage in combat operations.

The vote tally showed bipartisan support for the resolution as well as bipartisan opposition, pointing to the division among lawmakers on the issue of Syria.

Three Republicans -- John McCain, Bob Corker and Jeff Flake -- voted "yes" with seven Democrats. Two Democrats, Tom Udall and Chris Murphy, rejected the use of force, joining forces with five Republicans who voted "no", including Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

Udall said he voted against the resolution "because this policy moves the United States toward greater involvement in the Syria civil war".

In face of opposition, Robert Menendez, the committee chair, admitted that the full chamber vote may need a 60-vote supermajority to clear.

The vote came after closed-door meetings in the morning, and the committee delayed the start of the debate session by about three hours, another sign of contention inside the committee.

The House will also debate a resolution to authorise military action against Syria next week, but House leaders haven't announced a schedule yet.


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