Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 5:16 pm
By Eyder Peralta
After much diplomatic wrangling, President Obama on Monday left open the possibility of a diplomatic solution in Syria, saying a proposal allowing Syria to give up its chemical weapons was a "potentially positive development."
As U.S. lawmakers weigh whether to support an attack on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, military planners have expanded the target list for a potential strike.
The Pentagon had been focused on attacking Syria with so-called standoff weapons — cruise missiles, for example. Launched from ships, they can attack Syrian positions without placing American pilots in danger. Cruise missiles are very precise, and perfect for hitting fixed targets, such as command-and-control centers the Syrian military relies on.
(1:45 p.m. ET: Since our original headline — "Russia Urges Assad To Cede Control Of His Chemical Weapons" — we've updated this post several times.)
Saying he hopes to "receive [a] fast and positive answer," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that Russia believes a U.S. military strike on Syria can be averted if President Bashar Assad hands over control of his regime's chemical weapons to international monitors.