Obama: Assad must be held to account

US President Barack Obama told congressional leaders Tuesday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be held accountable for using chemical weapons as he pressed for an endorsement of US military strikes.
 
Obama also said that he was confident he will win Senate and House votes on authorizing military action and pledged to upgrade US help to the Syrian opposition over time.
 
Obama warned the leadership of both parties in Congress and the bipartisan leadership of key security committees that Assad had violated a vital international norm by using chemical weapons.
 
“That poses a serious national security threat to the United States and to the region,” Obama said.
 
“And as a consequence, Assad and Syria needs to be held accountable.”
 
Obama also emphasized that the operation he envisaged in Syria was “limited” and “proportional.”
 
“It does not involve boots on the ground. This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan.”
 
Asked whether he was confident that he would win votes likely next week in Congress, Obama replied at the White House meeting: “I am.”