Obama asks Congress to delay vote on Syria military strike

Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama walks between meetings on Syria, on Capitol Hill in Washington
U.S. President Barack Obama walks between meetings on Syria with U.S. Senate Republicans and Democrats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday asked Congress to delay votes on authorizing military strikes against Syria in order to give Russia time to get Syria to surrender any chemical weapons it possesses, according to U.S. senators.

"What he (Obama) wants is to check out the seriousness of the Syrian and the Russian willingness to get rid of those chemical weapons in Syria. He wants time to check it out," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin told reporters.

Levin made his remarks after a lunch meeting on Capitol Hill that Obama attended. On Monday, the Senate began debating a resolution backing U.S. military strikes against Syria, which was requested by Obama on August 31.

(Reporting By Richard Cowan)