DAMASCUS, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The United States and its allies are pressing ahead with plans for punitive military attack on Syria as the U.N. chemical investigation team was still probing the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
But at the same time, more and more countries have joined those opposing military intervention in the Mideast country, which has been dired in a conflict for nearly two and half years.
Amid signs that 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," said the letter.
In the past days, the Obama administration has been preparing for a military strike on Syria, in response to the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons in the eastern suburbs of Damascus on Aug. 21, which reportedly killed 1,300 people.
As part of his ongoing consultations with allies, Obama called German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday to discuss the Syria situation and possible international response.
Merkel has been stressing that she hopes to see a comprehensive political solution to the conflict. But her administration said "the Syrian government cannot hope to continue this kind of illegal warfare and go unpunished."
Obama also conversed over the phone with British Prime Minister David Cameron, the major U.S. ally in its previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,to coordinate their positions on Syria.
British MPs vetoed Thursday a possible military action against Syria after eight hours of intense debate. Cameron said he would "act accordingly" after the 285 to 272 vote, dealing a setback to U.S.-led efforts to punish Damascus.
Reacting to Washington's calls for military arrack on Syria, Russia has repeatedly voiced against possible military intervention in the country, saying it would undermine efforts for a political settlement and destabilize the Middle East.
Russia has rejected U.S. accusations that the Syrian government was behind last week's claimed chemical attack.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday Canada has no plans for a military mission of its own in Syria, although the government supports its allies and has been convinced of the need for "forceful action."
Also on Thursday, Dutch government adviser Andre Nollkaemper said any intervention in Syria without a mandate from the U.N. Security Council is prohibited under international law.
Bulgaria insisted on political dialogue and political solution for Syria and his country will not participate in direct warfare, Bulgarian Defense Minister Angel Naydenov said.
In addition, Czech caretaker government head Jiri Rusnok said he is against the possible air attack on Syria as it has no legal grounds and will not resolve the conflict.
Czech President Milos Zeman and Bolivia's President Evo Morales denounced a potential U.S.-led military intervention in Syria.
Moreover, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Thursday his country opposes any military action on Syria, affirming Iraq's support for a political solution to the Syria crisis.
With military intervention looming, Syrian Defense Minister Fahed al- Fraij said Thursday his country's army will "decisively" respond to any form of foreign military action.
Earlier in the day, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the threats of military action on his country would only make it more adherent to its rooted bases and independent decision.
The U.N. chemical investigation team is currently probing the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria upon the request of the Syrian government.
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