US military strike on Syria to be limited, says Kerry

Last Updated: Sat, Aug 31, 2013 04:18 hrs

Washington: A US military strike, if any, against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria would be limited with "no boots on the ground" and would not be a repeat of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry said today.

Emerging out of a situation room meeting headed by US President Barack Obama, Kerry confirmed that the administration would not seek approval of the United Nations Security Council because of the opposition from Russia on the use of military force.

"Because of the guaranteed Russian obstructionism of any action through the UN Security Council, UN cannot galvanise the world to act as it should. So let me be clear. We will continue talking to the Congress, talking to our allies, and most importantly, talking to the American people," Kerry said.

Kerry spoke to reporters at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department soon after he returned from the White House where he attended the situation room meeting on Syria.

"President Obama will ensure that the US makes its own decisions on our own timelines, based on our values and our interests. Now, we know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war. Believe me, I am, too. But fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility," Kerry said indicating that the US is now headed towards a limited military strike against the Assad regime.

"Just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about. And history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator's wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency, these things we do know," he said referring to the Syrian regime's recent use of chemical weapons that killed 1,429 people including 426 children.

"We also know that we have a President who does what he says that he will do. And he has said, very clearly, that whatever decision he makes in Syria it will bear no resemblance to Afghanistan, Iraq or even Libya," he said.

"It will not involve any boots on the ground. It will not be open ended. And it will not assume responsibility for a civil war that is already well underway," Kerry said giving an indication of the kind of military strike which the US is contemplating.

"The President has been clear: Any action that he might decide to take will be limited and a tailored response to ensure that, a despot's brutal and flagrant use of chemical weapons is held accountable," he said.

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