President Obama’s Syria Decision Making (PHOTOS)

As President Obama contemplates using military force in Syria, The Daily Beast takes a look at the scene both inside and outside the White House.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Now that the State Department has confirmed the Syrian government crossed President Obama’s red line and used chemical weapons against its own people, the world is waiting to see whether the United States will launch military strikes against the Bashar al-Assad regime. The president said he will seek congressional approval before he commits the armed forces to another combat situation even though the legislative branch is out of session until September 9. It’s been a difficult road for the Obama administration, which has been back and forth about whether it would intervene in the brutal civil war. Despite all of the criticism, there was one thing Obama has made clear: if Syria uses chemical weapons again, the United States won’t wait for Congress to get back from recess to launch its attack.

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Demonstrators protest against initiating military action in Syria in front of the White House on August 31, 2013.

Molhem Barakat/Reuters

While the debate rages in Washington, bullets and air raids continue near Damascus. Dozens more people were killed over the weekend, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The organization has estimated that around 110,000 have died so far in the civil war.

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A protester holds up a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a march demanding that the United States intervene in Syria's civil war. 

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

A demonstration in favor of an American-led strike on Syria coalesced outside of the White House on August 31.



Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

Amid the battle in Syria, Free Syrian Army fighters launched locally made rockets in Deir al-Zor on August 31, 2013.

Sam Skaine/AFP/Getty

Obama said he had made no final decision on military strikes, but Syrian Army tanks continued to operate in the Eastern Ghouta area on the northeastern outskirts of Damascus, close to where the latest chemical weapons attack reportedly took place. 

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama meets with senior advisers in the Oval Office on August 30 to discuss their next move on Syria.

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Anti-war protesters march in downtown Los Angeles on August 31. 

Alice Martins/AFP/Getty

One of the areas of unrest in Syria that has seen clashes in the majority Kurdish areas is Tirbsybya in the northeastern Syrian province of Hasakeh. Violence has been so fierce in recent days that some 30,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring Iraq, according to the United Nations.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Obama talks with House Speaker John Boehner on August 31 as Vice President Joe Biden listens.

Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty

Members of the Syrian community in Japan and their supporters stage a demonstration in downtown Tokyo on September 1 to demand the world take action against Assad and his regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people.

Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

A man rides his bicycle on a damaged street in Deir al-Zor on August 30.

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Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement on the situation in Syria on August 30 in Washington, D.C. Kerry's remarks revealed that the Assad regime’s chemical attack had killed at least 1,429 people, including 426 children.


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Hundreds of people in London march against the idea of military intervention in Syria on August 31. British lawmakers had voted two days earlier to reject Prime Minister David Cameron’s call for British involvement in military strikes against the Assad regime.

Muzaffar Salman/Reuters

In Syria, a black economy has sprung up to cope with the hardship. Here a worker pours a bag of flour inside a secret bakery that belongs to the Free Syrian Army.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama meets in the Situation Room on August 31 with his national security advisers to discuss strategy in Syria.

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President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Syria in the Rose Garden of the White House on August 31. Obama said he will seek congressional authorization for U.S. military intervention in Syria.

Molhem Barakat/Reuters

A Free Syrian Army fighter takes a rest in a safe house beside the Canadian Hospital in Aleppo on August 31.

Aleppo Media Center

As the fighting in Syria continues, whole neighborhoods of key cities have been basically wiped out. This photo is of Aleppo, where the damage has been extensive thanks to heavy shelling.