Senior officials in the Barack Obama administration have said the US president would not insist on a UN Security Council resolution threatening Syria with the use of force, media reports said Saturday.
Obama's decision not to push for a Security Council resolution threatening Syria with military action came after the second day of negotiations between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Iran's Mehr news agency cited White House officials as telling The New York Times.
On Thursday and Friday, Kerry and Lavrov discussed a Russian proposal for putting Syria's chemical weapons under the control of the UN, a proposal that was welcomed by Syrian government. The two leaders were scheduled to continue their negotiations Saturday.
The US has accused the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons in an attack near Damascus Aug 21. The Syrian government has categorically rejected the accusations.
Even White House chief of staff Denis McDonough has admitted that Washington's claims were based on a "common sense test" and not any "irrefutable" evidence. Moreover, a classified document from America's National Ground Intelligence Centre obtained by independent news website WND has shown the US military knew that foreign-backed militants in Syria had sarin gas and used it in an attack on civilians and Syrian government forces, Mehr reported.
The leaked document suggested that Yossef Bodansky, former director of the US congressional task force on terrorism and unconventional warfare, indicated that the alleged chemical attack near Damascus was perpetrated by militants to provoke a US military intervention in the country, the report said.
Obama called on US lawmakers this week to delay a vote on his call for military action against Syria in order to give Russia's diplomatic proposal a chance to play out.
On Thursday, the Syrian ambassador to the UN said his country became a full member of the international treaty prohibiting chemical weapons. Nevertheless, US military leaders have announced that two warships deployed in the coastal waters near Syria would stay there beyond their scheduled deployment should the Obama administration give the green light for launching military strikes against Syria.
In an op-ed published by The New York Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin said a possible US attack on Syria "is unacceptable under the UN charter and would constitute an act of aggression".
"The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defence or by the decision of the security council," Putin said.