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Protesters in Times Square: U.S. Should Butt Out Of Syria

Say Obama Administration Hasn't Proven Chemical Weapons Claim
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Anti-war protesters hold a demonstration in Times Square on Aug. 29, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

Anti-war protesters hold a demonstration in Times Square on Aug. 29, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — As the United States moves closer to possibly launching a military strike against the Syrian government, a few hundred anti-war protesters rallied in Times Square on Thursday.

Demonstrators said the U.S. government has not provided any proof to back up its claims that President Bashard Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons against the Syrian people.

“Just like with ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ lies are being told to justify another war,” a news release announcing the protest reads.

Marching near the U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Center, demonstrators, some carrying Syrian flags, chanted “Hands off Syria” and “We need jobs. We need peace. U.S. out of the Middle East.”

“You can’t go to war for peace,” protester Leewaa Abdul Khalak told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “No lives will be saved.”

Anti-war demonstrations were also being held in Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dearborn, Mich., on Thursday night.

The White House said Thursday that President Barack Obama’s decision on a possible strike against Syria will be guided by America’s best interests, suggesting the U.S. may act alone if other nations won’t help.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Obama believes there are core U.S. interests at stake in Syria. She said countries who violate international norms about chemical weapons must be held accountable.

The White House was responding to a failed vote in Britain’s Parliament on Thursday to endorse military action against Syria over an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week. That means Britain won’t play a direct role in any U.S. attack.

The defeat dealt a major blow to Obama’s efforts to build an international coalition for a strike against the Syrian government.

Some 1,400 people were killed and thousands wounded in the purported poison gas attack Aug. 21, Syrian opposition leader Ahmad al-Jarba said. Assad has blamed the attack on the opposition.

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