Kerry: No war with Russia over Syria
A possible US military operation in Syria would not result in a war with Russia, Secretary of State John Kerry said at a meeting of the foreign affairs committee of the US House of Representatives, RIA Novosti reported.
"Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia has made it clear - pretty much to paraphrase - Russia does not intend to fight a war over Syria," Kerry said at the meeting on Wednesday when asked whether there was a potential danger of a military conflict with Russia.
"And I've had personal conversations with President [Vladimir] Putin and with the foreign minister that have indicated Syria doesn't rise to that level of potential conflict. Their ships are kind of staying out of the way. They are not threatening that. And I don't think that would be what would happen here," he said.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the assessment of Russia's possible response would be presented to Congress at closed hearings.
According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have already died in the two-year civil war in Syria.
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted Wednesday to give President Barack Obama the authority to use military force against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack last month.
A US intelligence report claims the Assad regime was behind a chemical weapons attack near Damascus on August 21 that Washington says left more than 1,400 people dead.
The UN Security Council has so far not authorized any military intervention in the Syrian crisis. Russia has urged all parties to the conflict to use diplomatic means to resolve it.