TIMES SQUARE — Hundreds of anti-war protesters gathered in New York City to voice opposition to any action by the United States in Syria on the heels of President Barack Obama's announcement urging Congress to approve military involvement in the country.
Protesters took to Times Square Saturday to watch an afternoon announcement during which Obama said he would be seeking military intervention in the country, but that he would make intervention contingent upon Congress' approval.
Protesters cited a range of reasons for turning out, but one woman said she felt she was acting on behalf of the Syrian people who would suffer collatoral damage from a U.S. strike.
"I served in Somalia back in 1993 and I wished that there had been protests for the Somali people," said Sarah Mess, a veteran holding a sign cut in the shape of a plane. "Now, I have a responsibility to speak out for the Syrian people."
Anthony Zenkus, another marcher, agreed. "Our bombs always end up falling on the houses of the poor," he said. "They [Syria] haven't done anything to us. It's a civil war and it is horrible, but it's a civil war that's been going on for three years already."
Imani Jacqueline Brown, who came out for the rally, said she viewed the president's speech as a call to action. "Now that Obama is seeking approval from Congress, we need to speak to our congressmen, our friends and strangers about this engagement with Syria."
For days the U.S. has been poised for a military strike after Syria's government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, is believed to have used chemical weapons against civilians in a Damascus suburb on August 21, killing more than 350 by British intelligence estimates, CNN reported.
Syria has denied the allegations, and said the attack was caused by jihadists who aim to turn global sentiment against the nation.
CNN reported that Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi said "fingers are on the trigger to confront all challenges," speaking about the Syrian army, in a broadcast on Syria State TV.
White House officials have promised only a brief strike, not a prolonged involvement in another Middle Eastern country, The Wall Street Journal reported.