The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has agreed a draft resolution which authorises President Barack Obama to use military force in Syria. The resolution bars the involvement of ground forces in the operation, which was given a limit of 60 days plus a further 30 day extension if needed.
The committee is to vote on the draft resolution on Wednesday. If approved, it will be sent to the full Senate for a vote on September 9, when Senators return from their summer holiday.
Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat Senator, said in a statement: "Together we have pursued a course of action that gives the president the authority he needs to deploy force in response to the Assad regime's criminal use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people."
Such authorisation, Menendez pointed out, is "narrow and focused" as well as time-limited. "It ensures that the armed forces of the United States will not be deployed for combat operations in Syria."
This resolution is aimed at gaining the support of Senators, who are still hesitant about a military operation against the Damascus regime of Bashar Al-Assad.
Secretary of State John Kerry, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all appeared before the Committee to press for its support for a military strike.