Game-Changer? Syria Agrees to Turn over Weapons

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President Barack Obama will try to convince a skeptical nation that a military strike on Syria must remain on the table.

The anticipated address, scheduled for 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, comes just a day after Syria agreed to a Russian proposed deal to turn its chemical weapons cache over to the international community.

But in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, President Obama opened the door to a Plan B.

"If Bashar al-Assad yields control of his chemical weapons to international authority, is military strike on pause?" Sawyer asked.

  • Watch President Obama's address to the nation on Syria, streamed LIVE on CBNNews.com @ 9 p.m. ET.

"Absolutely...If we can resolve this without military conflict, that is my great preference," Obama replied.

Obama believes the threat of a U.S. military strike is what pushed them to this point.

"I want to make sure that that the norm against use of chemical weapons is maintained," he said. "If we can do that without a military strike, that's overwhelmingly my preference."

But the administration is still skeptical that Assad will come through.

"We'll wait, but we're not waiting for long. Nothing focuses a mind like the threat of a hanging," Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been conspicuously hawkish over Syria, said.

A possible diplomatic breakthrough could not come at a better time for the president. a new ABC News-Washington Post poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose a strike against Syria.

On Capitol Hill, opposition to a military strike is also hardening.

"I will be voting against this (attack) resolution. A vital national security risk is clearly not at play," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel said.

"I see too much risk that a military strike could do more harm than good," Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., added.

Anti-strike sentiment has even united anti-war protestors from left and right.

Syria's foreign minister said his country will declare its chemical weapons arsenal and sign chemical weapons convention in order to "stave off American aggression."

Russia said it will soon announce a clear and concrete plan to secure those weapons. 

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Dale Hurd

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A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.