HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy on Tuesday called for President Barack Obama’s administration to exercise restraint as it considers its response to Syria following allegations it used chemical weapons in its civil war.

Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, said there’s little chance that targeted air strikes would destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. He said such intervention in Syria’s civil war could prompt a reaction from Syrian leader Bashar Assad and draw the U.S. into a wider conflict.

“I urge the Administration to continue to exercise restraint, because absent an imminent threat to America’s national security, the U.S. should not take military action without Congressional authorization,” the freshman senator said in a written statement.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that U.S. forces were ready to act if Obama decides to order an attack against Syria.

Syria’s civil war began more than two years ago. The White House said Obama had not settled on what action to take in response to the large-scale use of deadly gases, a move Obama said last year would cross a red line.

Momentum appeared to build Tuesday for Western military action against Syria, with France also saying it’s in position for a strike. The government in Syria’s capital, Damascus, vowed to use all possible measures to repel it.

The West has asserted that Assad’s government was responsible for a chemical attack on civilians outside Damascus on Aug. 21. The group Doctors Without Borders says the attack killed 355 people. Assad denies the claims.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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