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As Demonstrators Protest, Politicians Debate What US Should Do With Syria

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — While demonstrators took to downtown streets in Los Angeles Saturday, locals, politicians and Syrian expats, debated what the United States should do in the civil war-torn country.

President Barack Obama today said he would let Congress vote on a proposed military attack. Several days ago, the president seemed to suggest an air strike was imminent and that he would do so without Congressional approval.

He’s apparently had a change of heart.

California Senator Barbara Boxer said that any regime that used horrific weapons — like a gas attack — on their own people have to be held accountable.

CBS2’s Art Barron spoke to some of the 200 demonstrators downtown in LA’s Pershing Square who said the US needs to keep its hands off Syria.

“I don’t know why the Obama administration has claimed that they have ‘confirmed’ that al-Assad used chemical weapons,” said Robin Rosencrans, one of the demonstrators.

Earlier today the president said, “I spoke this morning with all four Congressional leaders and they have agreed to schedule a debate and a vote as soon as Congress will come back into session.”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters agreed with the president letting Congress decide.

“I think this is a wise decision, to come to Congress and let the debate take place,” she said.

Waters was originally inclined to lean toward an attack on Syria after the Assad regime allegedly used chemical weapons on more than 1400 defenseless civilians. But now she said she wants all the facts to be in — first.

“I think the American people have been through Iraq and Afghanistan and they are weary. I don’t think they easily [want us to go] into war.”

Demonstrators agreed that Congress should have a chance to have a full debate. Many also believed the debate takes the responsibility off the president’s shoulders.

“I feel that maybe this is a hesitation on his part. I ‘m hoping so,” said one woman.

A Syrian-Armenian family in Van Nuys believes the rebels are using chemical weapons against civilians in an effort to blame Bashar al-Assad.

“The rebels are doing this,” said Nanine Ghadanian, “I mean, they want al-Assad out of there, but they are hurting the poor people.”

“I think the president will present to the American people evidence that it is Bashar al-Assad,” said Waters.

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