WASHINGTON (AP) — It's now a two-track strategy on Syria for President Barack Obama and his allies in Congress.
With Syria saying it supports a proposal that it give up control of its chemical weapons stockpiles, Obama is joining a call for the U.N. Security Council to begin talks aimed at securing those weapons.
But at the same time, he's continuing to push the fallback idea of U.S. airstrikes against Bashar Assad's regime, in case that effort fails.
A bipartisan group of senators is seizing on that new strategy -- putting together a reworked congressional resolution calling for a U.N team to remove the chemical weapons by a set deadline. It authorizes military action if that doesn't happen.
Obama is discussing the diplomatic and military options today with Democratic and Republican senators who are growing increasingly wary of U.S. military intervention. And he's planning to address the American people from the White House tonight.
This morning, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell became the first congressional leader to come out against authorizing military strikes. He said there are "too many unanswered questions about our long-term strategy in Syria."
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers that the plan for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons must not be used as a delaying tactic. And he said it has to be verifiable.
174-a-14-(Secretary of State John Kerry, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee)-"fulfill those conditions"-Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. is eyeing the idea of Syria handing over its chemical weapons with caution. (10 Sep 2013)
<<CUT *174 (09/10/13)££ 00:14 "fulfill those conditions"
171-a-09-(Secretary of State John Kerry, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee)-"the Russian proposal"-Secretary of State John Kerry says President Obama has agreed with his French and British counterparts to have the U.N. Security Council discuss a proposal to secure Syria's chemical weapons. (10 Sep 2013)
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183-a-14-(Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in remarks)-"civil war there"-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says there are several reasons why he doesn't support the president's proposal to attack Syria. ((longer version of cut in wrap)) (10 Sep 2013)
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GRAPHICSBANK: John Kerry, as US Secretary of State, London, United Kingdom, graphic element on gray (10 Sep 2013)
GRAPHICSBANK: Bashar Assad headshot, as Syria President, listens during a PBS interview, Presidential Palace, Damascus, Syria, graphic element on gray (10 Sep 2013)
APPHOTO DCPM109: President Barack Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade toward the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, ahead of his daily briefing. Obama will deliver a speech on Syria from the East Room in an address to the national this evening. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (10 Sep 2013)
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APPHOTO DCJM105: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel listens at right as Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, before the House Armed Services Committee hearing on the proposed authorization to use military force in Syria. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (10 Sep 2013)
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