Congressman Jim Jordan. Getty Image

Local Congressman Jordan: Military force against Syria an option

Local Congressman Jim Jordan says Congress should debate use of military force in Syria after the recent chemical attack.

“If we’re going to escalate this to a great degree, it seems to me you’ve got to have this debate in Congress. That’s what the Constitution clearly spells out. Let’s have that debate,” Jordan said on CNN Thursday morning.

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Jordan was critical of Syrian President Bashar Assad saying “I also understand that what Assad did, this is as evil and wrong as it gets.”

It “deserves some kind of response,” Jordan said.

Turkey, Russia in talks on Syria

Officials from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office say the Turkish leader and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have discussed the latest developments in Syria and agreed to keep in close contact.

The officials said the two leaders held a telephone conversation on Thursday hours after Erdogan said he would discuss ways of ending the “chemical massacre” in Syria with Putin.

The officials provided the information on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.

Erdogan earlier criticized the United States and Russia, accusing them of “relying on their military might” and of turning Syria into “a virtual wrestling ground.”

He said Turkey’s traditional ties to the West and growing ties to Russia and Iran were no obstacles to Ankara pointing out their mistakes.

—Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey


NATO puts pressure on Russia, Iran

NATO is calling on Russia and Iran to make sure that international observers and medical staff are being allowed in and around the area of the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that beyond Syrian President Bashar Assad, the alliance also wants Syria’s “supporters Iran and Russia to make that possible — both to allow international observers but also to allow medical assistance access to the area.”

Stoltenberg said that consultation were ongoing among the NATO allies on how to respond to the suspected chemical attack, and said “it is important that those responsible are held accountable.”

Syrian opposition activists and medics say a suspected gas attack last week killed more than 40 people in Douma, a town outside the capital that was then controlled by Syrian rebels. The Syrian government has denied the allegations.

The Russian military says government forces are now in full control of Douma.

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Russia warns U.S.

Russia has warned the U.S. and its allies against assuming the role of a “global policeman” in response to what it describes as fake claims of chemical weapons use in Syria.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday that Western leaders have no authority to be “investigators, prosecutors and executioners.”

Syrian opposition activists and medics say a suspected gas attack last week killed more than 40 people in Douma, a town outside the capital that was then controlled by Syrian rebels. The Syrian government has denied the allegations.

Zakharova described the allegations as fake, but said the international chemical weapons watchdog should investigate them. She said Russia would ensure the monitors’ security.

Zakharova called for de-escalating the situation, urging the West to carefully weigh the consequences before taking any action.


Iran: ‘Expel the American occupiers’

An aide to Iran’s supreme leader says he hopes Syrian forces will “expel the American occupiers” in the country’s northeast after they retake other areas of the country from insurgents.

Ali Akbar Velayati, speaking in the Syrian capital on Thursday, said he visited eastern Ghouta a day earlier, calling the capture of the Damascus suburbs one of the most important victories of the seven-year civil war.

Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has sent thousands of troops and allied militiamen to support his forces.

Velayati said he hoped the northern Idlib province, which is dominated by al-Qaida militants would be the next to fall to government forces. He said Assad’s forcers should then push east of the Euphrates River, where U.S. troops are embedded with Kurdish forces.

He said: “We are hopeful that major and extensive steps are taken later to liberate this area and expel the American occupiers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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