WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – As President Obama and other top American officials prepare to make their case for military action against Syria, a U.S. official released a DVD compilation of videos showing victims of the Aug. 21 attack near Damascus.
The graphic video was released by a U.S. official who “was granted anonymity,” and told The Associated Press that the images “were a compilation of publicly available videos of victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria,” the AP reports.
The images were shown before Congress this past week as the Obama administration presses Congress for a “limited strike” to prevent future chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
The video shows “bodies on the floor, limbs twitching, pinpoint pupils, people foaming at the mouth.”
President Obama is preparing for a national address Tuesday as a growing number of lawmakers, including fellow Democrats, opposed the use of force. The American public – from both political parties — didn’t yet appear persuaded by Obama’s argument that action is needed to deter the future use of chemical weapons.
Anti-war protesters gathered outside the White House on Saturday to voice their opposition to a U.S. military strike in Syria, calling their picket line one that Congress shouldn’t cross as it prepares to vote on the issue.
At least 150 protesters picketed the sidewalk in front of the White House and marched to Capitol Hill, chanting slogans like “They say more war; we say no war” and carrying signs that said a war on Syria would be “Built on a Lie.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with more than two dozen European foreign ministers on Saturday, insisted that international backing to take strong action against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime was growing, not receding.
“This is our chance to join together and pursue accountability over appeasement,” Kerry states in the video. “We in the United States know, and our French partners know, that this is not the time to be silent spectators to slaughter.”
The Europeans were divided on whether military action would be effective. Britain’s Parliament has voted against military action. France had been ready to act last week but held off when Obama declared that he would seek the backing of Congress. French President Francois Hollande’s announcement appeared to catch French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius off guard.
Earlier on Friday, Fabius told EU foreign ministers that there was no need to wait for the U.N. report because it would simply confirm what was already known – that the chemical weapons attack had occurred – but would not say who was responsible.
Hollande indicated Saturday that the U.N. report could be ready in a matter of days, and he would then be prepared to make a decision on a French intervention.
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