As New Yorkers weigh in on the conflict in Syria, President Obama says the U.S. should take military action against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but he also says he will seek authorization for the use of force from Congress.
NY1 spoke Friday with some Syrian-Americans in Brooklyn who said they want to see the U.S. get involved.
"I think it's time for him to take action. The regime uses all kinds of weapons, and finally last week used the chemical weapon," said Nezar Yabroudi, a spokesman with the Syrian American Alliance. "Strike missile, no-fly zone, but the most important, we don't need group on the ground,"
"Americans should go ahead and strike the murderer Assad and his barbarian company, including the Hezbollah supporters and the Iranian supporters, and put an end to the massacre that is happening in Syria," said Asem Smadi, a Syrian New Yorker.
In a strongly worded speech Saturday from the White House the Rose Garden, Obama said that he believes there's no doubt chemical weapons were used, and Assad must held accountable for the attack that killed hundreds of children.
He also criticized the United Nations for being paralyzed with inaction.
The president says he will seek authorization for the use of force from Congress, and he met Saturday morning with leaders from both parties, as well as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry.
Obama said Assad must pay the price for what he called a heinous act.
"Here's my question for every member of Congress and every members of the global community. What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?" Obama said. "Make no mistake, this has implications beyond chemical warfare. If we won't enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules?"
Any action could lead to potential retaliation against American allies in the region, including Jordan, Turkey and Israel.
The U.S. could also be forced to act alone, as Britain's parliament defeated the prospect on Thursday.
U.N. inspectors arrived in the Netherlands with samples that will help them to determine whether chemical weapons were used.
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said that the departure of the inspectors from Syria does not mean that any action against Syria is imminent, especially by the U.S.
"I've seen all kind of reporting suggesting that the departure of the chemical weapons team somehow opens a window for military action of some kind, but frankly, that's grotesque, and it's also an affront to the more than 1,000 U.N. staff who are on the ground in Syria delivering humanitarian aid and will continue to deliver critical aid," Nesirky said.
The Syrian government has denied it used chemical weapons, comparing the accusations to the intelligence that the Bush administration relied on to invade Iraq.
Residents in the Syrian capital of Damascus have been seen stocking up on food and other necessities, but it appears there's been little in the way of panic.