WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The United States will respond in its own timeline to Syria's use of chemical weapons in the latter country's internal conflict, the State Department said Thursday.
"The president will continue contemplating what decision to take in close consultation with our allies," spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters at a regular press briefing. "I'm not going to go any further than that, except to say that we make our own decisions in our own timeline."
Washington is seeking coordinated military strikes on Syria with its allies in response to the gas attack last week in the suburbs of Damascus, capital of Syria, in which, hundreds of people are allegedly killed.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, however, pledged Wednesday to wait until the UN investigators report their findings to the Security Council.
"We certainly are interested in engaging with the global international community on this issue," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a regular press briefing.
"But at the same time, the president's chief accountability is to the American people that he was elected to protect," he added.
The Obama administration has pinned the blame on the Syrian government, and Earnest said an American intelligence assessment on the Syrian government's culpability could come out as early as Thursday.
As part of his ongoing consultations with allies, President Barack Obama also called German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday, but Earnest did not disclose any details about this conversation.
Obama and his administration officials have said the impending U.S. military operation against Syria will be limited, while press reports said it will involve sea-launched cruise missiles or possibly long-range bombers.
Earnest refused to say directly whether Obama will seek Congress's authorization before giving the order for military action, as pressed by some lawmakers.
He noted that ranking administration officials will brief senior members of Congress at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) Thursday, as part of the ongoing consultations, that will involve National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Admiral James Winnefeld Jr, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
In another development Thursday, Obama spoke to the Speaker of the House John Boehner by telephone to discuss his deliberations on Syria, as the top lawmaker urged the president a day earlier to make his case for striking Syria.
The pair discussed, among others, the legal justification for the operation and its objectives, Boehner's spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement.
"Only the president can answer these questions, and it is clear that further dialogue and consultation with Congress, as well as communication with the American public, will be needed," Buck said.
U.S. lawmakers demand Obama wait for Congress' approval prior attacking Syria
WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Amid signs the U.S. is ready to attack Syria, 140 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed onto a letter, demanding President Barack Obama get authorization of Congress before going ahead with the military strike.
"We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria. Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973," said the letter, which is published on the website of the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill. Full story
Syria to "decisively" respond to foreign military action
DAMASCUS, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Defense Minister Fahed al- Fraij said Thursday that the army will "decisively" respond to any form of foreign military action, the state-TV reported.
The minister's remarks were made on a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Hasan Dahqan, during which he accused " terrorists" of using chemical weapons on innocent civilians to obtain support from the superpowers and to cover their defeats. Full story
Syria requests UN to investigate three extra chemical attacks
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The government of Syria on Wednesday asked the world body to investigate three alleged chemical attacks carried out by rebels in the Damascus suburbs last week, a Syrian envoy told reporters here.
"I have just addressed on behalf of my government a letter to both the secretary-general of the United Nations as well as to the president of the Security Council," said Bashar Ja'afari, Syria's permanent representative to the UN.Full story
UN inspectors visit alleged chemical attack site in Syria
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- UN inspectors visited several locations in the suburbs of the Syrian capital in their second-day on-site probe into the latest alleged use of chemical weapons in Damascus, and have not asked for an extension of the 14- day mandate, a UN spokesperson said on Wednesday.
"Today, the chemical weapons investigation team was able to visit several locations in the suburbs of Damascus, including impact sites, where it collected additional information and samples," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said at a news briefing.Full story
Britain not to take military action until UN completes investigation on Syria
LONDON, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- A British government motion published on Wednesday suggests the country may not take military action against Syria until the United Nations completes its investigation on the alleged chemical weapons attack.
The motion, agreed by senior British officials attending the National Security Council meeting, said that "every effort should be made to secure a Security Council Resolution backing military action before any such action is taken."Full story
Lebanon not to allow strike against Syria in its airspace
BEIRUT, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese caretaker foreign minister said Wednesday that his country would not allow the use of its airspace to carry out strikes against neighboring Syria.
Adnan Mansour told Voice of Lebanon radio that "no military action should be carried against Syria before the UN investigation team completes its report on the use of chemical weapons."Full story