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Syrian Media Declares 'Historic American Retreat'

Syrian refugees pass through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border on Sunday.
Gregorio Borgia
Associated Press
Syrian refugees pass through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border on Sunday.

Syrian state media on Sunday reacted to President Obama's decision to ask Congress for authorization to strike President Bashar al-Assad's regime, calling the move the start of a U.S. retreat.

"Whether the Congress gives the red or green light for an aggression, and whether the prospects of war have been enhanced or faded, President Obama has announced yesterday, by prevaricating or hinting, the start of the historic American retreat," Al-Thawra said.

The newspaper, seen as an official mouthpiece, also said the U.S. president's decision to go to Congress was due to a "sense of implicit defeat and the disappearance of his allies."

Apparently weary of the long British involvement in Iraq, the House of Commons issued Prime Minister David Cameron a stinging defeat last week when it voted not to sign on with Washington in a military strike on Syria.

Meanwhile, Syria's opposition coalition called on U.S. lawmakers to approve military action against Assad's regime to punish him for his use of chemical weapons against the rebels, including the more than 1,400 people the White House says were killed in an Aug. 21 nerve agent attack on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus.

"The Syrian Coalition believes any possible military action should be carried out in conjunction with an effort to arm the Free Syrian Army. This will be vital in restraining Assad and ending the killing," the coalition said in a statement.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.