Report: Syrian newspaper hails 'historic American retreat'

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According to the Associated Press, Syria's al-Thawra newspaper carried a front-page story hailing the decision by Obama, which marked an apparent pivot by the White House to a more cautious approach to the conflict.

"Whether the Congress lights the red or green light for an aggression, and whether the prospects of war have been enhanced or faded, President Obama has announced yesterday, by prevaricating or hinting, the start of the historic American retreat," Al-Thawra said.

The paper is believed to reflect government thinking, the AP reported. Al-Thawra also said that Obama was prompted to seek congressional approval due to a "sense of implicit defeat and the disappearance of his allies."  

Obama's decision also drew mockery from Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad. According to The New York Times, Mekdad told reporters  “it is clear there was a sense of hesitation and disappointment in what was said by President Barack Obama yesterday. And it is also clear there was a sense of confusion, as well.”

Indeed, the United States has few international allies supporting Obama's assertion that military action against Syria is necessary. Britain's parliament voted against military action last week, and nearly every member of NATO has declined to engage.

Only France has expressed support for a potential military strike.

Updated at 3:10 p.m.