Obama backed by Senators on Syria attacks

PRESIDENT Barack Obama last night won the backing of a key group of US Senators, paving the way for a full vote on military intervention in Syria.

The Committee on Foreign Relations backed the President’s motion – which would allow air strikes for two months and bans US troops entering the country on the ground – by a margin of 10 to 7.

Both houses of congress will now have the chance to vote on potential military action, which has been prompted by the alleged use of chemical weapons by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But with the world’s leaders today heading to St Petersburg for the G20 meeting, Obama will today come face to face with Russia’s President Putin, who has repeatedly frustrated attempts to reach international concensus on strikes.

Putin, a keen supporter of the Syrian government, yesterday warned Obama against pursuing military action without UN.

Downing Street yesterday repeated that Britain will not hold another vote on intervention after MPs rejected it last week. Instead the UK will focus on humanitarian aid.

“The support we have offered is in the form of testing kits and contamination tents for chemical weapons,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman said, adding he expected discussions between leaders over Syria “on the margins” of the G20.