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Syria asks UN to prevent aggression against it

Press Trust of India  |  Cairo 

Syria has appealed to the United Nations to try to "prevent any aggression" against it, even as US President Barack Obama today lobbied with war-weary lawmakers to convince them for a limited military strike.

"The Syrian government calls on the UN secretary general to assume his responsibilities... And to make efforts to prevent any aggression against Syria," the state-run SANA agency said, quoting a letter from Syria's UN representative Bashar al-Jaafari.

The letter also called on the UN to help seek a "peaceful political solution to the crisis" in Syria.

Meanwhile, A senior Syrian minister was quoted as saying by BBC that any US military action against Syria would amount to "support for al-Qaeda and its affiliates."

"Any attack against Syria is support for al-Qaeda and its affiliates, whether Jabat al-Nusra or the State of Islam in Syria and Iraq," Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said.

Muqdad, who is considered to be highly influential within President Bashar al-Assad's government, also warned that possible US intervention would deepen "hatred for the Americans" and destabilise the whole Middle East.

The US has claimed 1,429 people were killed in the alleged chemical attacks carried out by the Assad regime in a Damascus suburb on August 21.

Syria, however, has denied US charges, saying jihadists fighting with the rebels used the deadly weapons in an effort to turn global sentiments against it.

Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough have made individual calls to members of Congress, a senior White House official said.

The aggressive lobbying comes after a classified briefing was held on Capitol Hill late yesterday. Many lawmakers are said to be sceptical of the strike.

In a surprise move, Obama has sought congressional approval for limited military intervention in Syria to win more support for his plan to punish the Assad regime for the attack.

Meanwhile, a media report today said that a US aircraft carrier is moving westward toward the Red Sea, although it has not yet received orders to support a potential US strike.

The Nimitz carrier strike group, which includes a guided missile cruiser and four destroyers, was kept in the Indian Ocean for a "prudent responsible decision," an official was quoted as saying by ABC

Resistance against the imminent US strike is also mounting at the international front with veto-wielding Russia today saying that it was totally unconvinced by the evidence presented by the US and its allies.

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First Published: Mon, September 02 2013. 18:00 IST