What’s happening today in Syria?
(CNN) — Congress is returning to Washington on Monday after a monthlong summer break to jump right into debate and votes on a resolution giving President Barack Obama the authorization to strike Syria.
Obama said there’s no doubt that Syria used chemical weapons on its own civilians on August 21, and he wants to launch attacks, but he first wants to get Congress’ approval.
Here are the latest developments Monday:
• Syria “welcomes” Russia’s proposal for President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to put its chemical weapons under international control, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told reporters in Moscow on Monday.
• U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that he is considering urging the Security Council to demand the Syrian government immediately hand over its chemical weapons to be destroyed.
• Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters that Russia will urge Syria to put its chemical weapons supply under international control if it will avert U.S. military action.
• Al-Assad “could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, before Moallem’s statement. “But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.”
• Al-Assad told CBS’s Charlie Rose that “you should expect everything” if there’s an attack. “The government’s not the only player in this region. You have different parties, different factions, different ideologies. You have everything in this decision now,” he said.
• Lavrov called for international talks in Moscow to promote a peace process for Syria and avert an American military strike. He blamed U.S.-backed rebels in Syria for preventing a peace conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
• Kerry said it is al-Assad who will not negotiate as long as he is not prevented from using chemical weapons. Despite American support for militarily targeting the regime’s ability to use chemical weapons, Kerry said, “The end to the conflict in Syria requires a political solution. There is no military solution.”
• Moallem said his government questioned “the aim of this aggression that seeks to degrade the capability of the Syrian army in favor of al Qaeda and its affiliates.”
• British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his country and the United States are aligned in four areas: Creating conditions for a Geneva peace process, addressing the humanitarian tragedy, supporting the moderate Syrian opposition and “mustering a strong international response to the use of chemical weapons.”
• A top Obama administration official says he believes that the congressional votes favoring a military strike against Syria will be there “at the end of the day.” The goal of a strike would be to “deter” and “degrade” al-Assad’s “ability to use chemical weapons,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told CNN’s “New Day.”
• The Syrian president and his regime used chemical weapons, Rhodes argued. “No doubt in our mind,” he said. “We’re going to show Bashar al-Assad there are consequences for the use of these weapons.”
American public opinion:
• A CNN/ORC International poll shows that even though eight in 10 Americans believe that the Assad regime gassed its own people, a strong majority doesn’t want Congress to pass a resolution authorizing a military strike against it.
• More than seven in 10 say such a strike would not achieve significant goals for the U.S., and a similar amount say it’s not in the national interest for the U.S. to get involved in Syria’s bloody two-year-long civil war, the poll says.
• The House and Senate are in session at 2 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to take the first procedural steps to overcome an anticipated filibuster over whether to officially take up the Syria resolution.
• Obama will give a preview of his address to the nation when he does a round of interviews with major TV and cable outlets. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer will report on his interview with the president on “The Situation Room.”
• All House members get an intelligence briefing from Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Rice will also brief members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
• Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN that he understands the citizenry’s skepticism over military action and said it would be a “horrible mistake” to move ahead without winning ‘”enough votes” and “confidence” in Congress.
• Rogers said chemical weapons pose a “serious problem” and pointed to “national security consequences for the United States.” He said Congress needs to focus on the “consequences of doing something and the consequences of not doing something.”
“What I hope happens this week is we have that dialogue, that discussion and that debate as we should as members of Congress about national security issues.”
CNN’s Joe Sterling contributed to this report.
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