President Obama addresses nation concerning Syria

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(CNN) Targeted military strikes against Syria would serve several purposes, including deterring Syria’s government from using chemical weapons, making it more difficult for them to do so and making clear to the world that the use of chemical weapons won’t be tolerated, President Barack Obama told the nation Tuesday night.

The president’s speech, originally intended to win over a skeptical public for another military campaign halfway around the world, is now meant to persuade the American people and Congress to maintain the threat of a U.S. attack on Syria while asking for time to let the diplomatic process unfold.

His pitch comes amid efforts by Russia to avert a potential U.S. attack by having Syria hand over its chemical arsenal to international control.

Running summary of President Obama’s speech:

President Barack Obama said Tuesday night that he has asked leaders in Congress “to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force” in Syria while diplomatic efforts to address the crisis continue. “It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments,” Obama said. “But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force.”

The United States and its military will “be in position to respond if diplomacy fails” to address the crisis in Syria, President Barack Obama said Tuesday night, not ruling out military intervention in the war-torn country.

President Barack Obama pointed Tuesday night to “encouraging signs” in diplomatic efforts to address the crisis in Syria, crediting these “in part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action.” These efforts could include Syria handing over its chemical weapons, a move that Obama said has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without military intervention.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday night that while any U.S. military action would be limited, “even a limited strike will send a message” to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.

“I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria,” President Barack Obama said Tuesday night. He also vowed not to “pursue an open-ended action” in the war-torn country.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday night that while any U.S. military action would be limited, “even a limited strike will send a message” to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday night that Syria’s government violated the “basic rules” of warfare, adding: “The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America (will) do about it.”

President Barack Obama said Tuesday night that “the situation (in Syria) profoundly changed on August 21,” referring to a chemical weapons attack he blames on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.