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Diplomats’ Dissent on Syria Is a Signal to Clinton -- Russia Too

  • State Department officials urge a U.S. attack on Assad forces
  • Obama ‘doesn’t see a military solution,’ spokeswoman says

A "dissent memo” signed by dozens of State Department officials urging U.S. airstrikes on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces is a message to their former boss Hillary Clinton -- and a warning to Assad and the Russians -- that career diplomats want President Barack Obama’s successor to take a harder line against the dictator.

The memo calls for limited U.S. airstrikes on Assad’s forces in response to the collapse of a tentative cease-fire in Syria’s five-year civil war, according to a person who has been briefed on the letter. Assad said this month that he would take back "every inch" of Syria from opposition forces. The 51 officials who signed the document argue that U.S. military action would force Assad and his ally, Russia, to make concessions in negotiations to resolve the conflict.