|US lawmakers approve amended Syria resolution
US President Barack Obama's plan for military strikes on Syria passed its first congressional hurdle, paving the way for a full Senate debate on the use of force.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved an amended resolution 10-7, with one senator, the chamber's newest member Edward Markey, voting present, that authorizes US military intervention with a 90-day deadline and bars American boots on the ground for combat purposes, AFP reports.
Senate leaders have said the full chamber will debate and vote next week on authorization of the use of force in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.
The House of Representatives, where a tougher vote is expected, will begin consideration next week.
Senator Robert Menendez, the committee's chairman, said the amended, bipartisan resolution marks “a good foundation'' for passing the Senate.
Lawmakers tweaked the resolution to include language sought by Republican Senator John McCain, who had threatened a no vote unless the measure addressed efforts to change the “momentum'' on the battlefield in Syria.
“Any observer would agree that unless Bashar al-Assad believes that he is going to lose, it will be impossible for him to negotiate a peaceful settlement and departure from Syria,'' McCain told the committee as it debated and ultimately approved his amendment.
McCain voted yes for the resolution, but five Republicans, including two potential 2016 presidential candidates, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, voted against.