Quakers quote Dempsey in warning Obama against Syria attack

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The letter goes on to urge the administration to invite a broad range of parties to the repeatedly delayed last-ditch peace talks organized by the United States and Russia, including Iran, Hezbollah, Lebanon, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The Quakers also call on Obama to “convene an emergency summit of heads of state with all key regional leaders, including Russia, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, U.S., UK and France to negotiate a way forward to end the bloodshed, allow unrestricted humanitarian access and find a negotiated settlement to the conflict.”

Obama, during a CNN interview aired Friday, said reports that Assad's forces killed more 1,000 people on Wednesday with poison gas was a “big event of grave concern.” The administration has called for a United Nations probe and is weighing a military response if the allegations are borne out.

Dempsey this week argued against military action in Syria given the interests of some groups fighting Syria's government.

“Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing one among many sides,” Dempsey wrote in a letter to Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs panel and a champion of arming vetted rebels groups. “It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favor. Today, they are not.”

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