The legislation, however, would “strictly prohibit American boots on the ground”
The Syria war resolution drafted by members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee permits up to 60 days of military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime and does not permit any boots on the ground, Congressional aides said.
“The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has crafted a bipartisan Authorisation for the Use of Military Force that we believe reflects the will and concerns of Democrats and Republicans alike,” Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the committee, said after successfully negotiating with ranking member Bob Corker on the resolution.
However, the text of the draft resolution was not officially released.
The resolution is likely to be put to vote before the committee on Wednesday. The resolution, among other things, permit the deployment of a small rescue mission in the event of an emergency, Congressional aides said.
Mr. Menendez said the resolution gives U.S. President Barack Obama the authority he needs to deploy force in response to the Assad regime’s criminal use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
The resolution also assures that the authorisation is narrow and focussed, limited in time, and assures that the Armed Forces of the U.S. will not be deployed for combat operations in Syria.
On Tuesday, Mr. Menendez presided over the Senate committee hearing on Syria. The Senate is expected to schedule a vote on the resolution early next week.
“I do think we were able to address many of the issues that were raised today during the hearing. And I thought the hearing was fine. There wasn’t any new ground broke, and I was glad that Secretary (of State, John) Kerry reasserted the ‘no boots on the ground’ point. And I’m sure that will also be addressed in writing,” said Mr. Corker after the Congressional hearing.
The new draft legislation being circulated to committee members on Tuesday evening would “strictly prohibit American boots on the ground, limit the duration of any military action to 60 days”.
“Our negotiations have led to a much narrower authorisation that provides for the appropriate use of force while limiting the scope and duration of military action, prohibiting boots on the ground, and requiring the Obama administration to submit their broader plan for Syria,” Mr. Corker said in a statement.
The resolution would separately require a report from the Obama administration detailing U.S. support for vetted, moderate opposition groups in Syria, Mr. Corker said.
“This is one of the most serious matters that comes before the Congress, so as we proceed to a potentially defining vote next week, the President and his administration must continue to vigorously make their case to the American people,” he said.