- (Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing)
The leaders of the House of Representatives declared on Tuesday their support for President Barack Obama's proposed strike on the Syrian government for its use of chemical weapons on civilians.
"The use of chemical weapons is a barbarous act. It's pretty clear to me that the United Nations is unable to take action; NATO, not likely to take action," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) shared with reporters after a meeting in the White House, CNN reported.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) added that the U.S. government must respond to actions "outside the circle of civilized human behavior."
"Humanity drew a line decades ago that I think if we ignore, we do so to the peril of many other people who could suffer," Pelosi added.
The Obama Administration is seeking Congressional support on a proposed military strike in Syria to take down President Bashar al-Assad, who it says is responsible for the chemical weapon attack in August in the Middle East country that killed 1,429 people, including more than 400 children.
Assad has denied that his government carried out the chemical attacks and blamed the rebels who for over two years now have been trying to take down his regime in a widespread civil war that has killed over 100,000 people.
With Russia and China warning the U.S. that there will be serious consequences for the region if the US decides to attack, and the U.K. Parliament voting against engaging in military operations, Obama has been trying to make his case to U.S. Congress that regardless of who stands beside America, it needs to act against Assad.
On Monday, Obama spoke with former Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at the White House, hoping to gain his support on the issue.
In a joint statement with fellow Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), McCain agreed that Assad's actions require a military response from the U.S., but warned that a detailed overall strategy is needed to bring an end to the conflict, which he described as "a growing threat to our national security interests."
Boehner added in a later statement that Obama needs to "make his case to the American people and their elected representatives."
"All votes authorizing the use of military force are conscience votes for members, and passage will require direct, continuous engagement from the White House," the House speaker said.
Other U.S. politicians, such as Senator Rand Paul (R-KYy., have spoken out against military intervention in Syria, however.
"I think the Islamic rebels winning is a bad idea for the Christians. All of a sudden we'll have another Islamic state where Christians are persecuted," Paul said in an interview on Sunday.
Earlier on Tuesday, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said that Syria is the "great tragedy" of the 21st century, while a new report revealed that over 2 million people have fled the country.
"Syria has become the great tragedy of this century – a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history," Guterres said.
"The only solace is the humanity shown by the neighboring countries in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees."