Syria's opposition "disappointed" over delay in US attack
Published Sunday, September 1, 2013
Syria's main opposition bloc said Sunday it was disappointed with US President Barack Obama's decision to seek approval from Congress to launch strike against the Syrian government, but said it believed lawmakers would vote in favor of an attack.
"We had a feeling of disappointment. We were expecting things to be quicker, that a strike would be imminent... But we believe Congress will approve a strike," said Samir Nashar, a top official at the Syrian National Coalition.
To general surprise, Obama on Saturday postponed threatened missile strikes against Syria that the world had thought were imminent, opting instead for getting Congress approval.
This effectively pushes back any military aggression against Syria until at least September 9, when US lawmakers return from their summer recess.
France meanwhile said it would only participate in an attack on Syria if the United States approves strikes.
"France can not go it alone," French Interior Minister Manuel Valls told Europe 1 radio on Sunday. "We need a coalition."
France's prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, is scheduled to meet with the heads of the two houses of parliament and the opposition on Monday to discuss the Syrian situation ahead of a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.
Britain has opted out of such a coalition after the prime minister and other top officials failed to sway UK lawmakers to get on board with the attack.
Nashar said the Syrian opposition coalition was confident that Arab foreign ministers who meet Sunday in Cairo would give "very strong support" to a US-led military attack.
"The Turkish position is also very important. Washington needs this support," the Istanbul-based official said.
"The coalition will get in touch with Arab countries and Turkey so that they cooperate as much as possible with the United States," he said.