Democrats Divided on How to Proceed in Syria

Some want to be consulted, others want Obama to attack now.

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Republicans are not the only ones without a consensus on Syria, the Democratic caucus is sending an equal number of mixed messages to President Barack Obama as he weighs his options for intervention in the region.

[READ: Congress Wants to Give Input on Syria ]

Some Democrats are urging Obama to stay out of the conflict, others want action now.

One coalition of Democratic lawmakers isn't sold one way or the other, but is requesting Obama gets congressional approval before he strikes Syria with missiles, an option the administration is considering in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his own people.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., announced Wednesday 12 Democrats had signed a letter urging Obama to ask Congress before he takes action.

Others, however, are even more wary of military intervention.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is among a group of Democrats urging Obama to exercise restraint.

"There is little chance that targeted air strikes would destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles, making the strikes little more than a slap on the wrist," Murphy said in a statement. "Moreover, those air strikes would prompt a reaction from Assad as well as the countries that finance his murderous regime. Before engaging in a military strike against Assad's forces, the United States must understand that this action will likely draw us into a much wider and much longer-term conflict that could mean an even greater loss of life within Syria."

[PHOTOS: Alleged Gas Attack Kills Dozens in Damascus ]

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., stopped short of supporting a missile strike, but did argue against deploying troops to the region.

"Senator Shaheen believes that the Assad regime must be held to account by the international community for the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians including Syrian children," said Shripal Shah, communication director for Shaheen. "She is not in favor of U.S. troops on the ground in Syria. She believes we must be extremely cautious before using force in this unstable region."

But the precipice of war scrambles party lines.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., for example, has been advocating for U.S. intervention in Syria for months. In November 2012, he warned in an interview with Foreign Policy Magazine if Obama didn't take action to "oust Assad," the long-term consequences for the Syrian people and for the stability in the region, could be devastating.

[ALSO: The Future of GOP Foreign Policy Emerges on Syria]

Now, Casey says the geopolitics of the region have evolved making intervention more complicated, but still necessary.

"Taking action now will certainly be more difficult than it was last year, but if the administration does decide to act in collaboration with our allies in Europe and the Middle East, it should act decisively to avoid further extending the conflict," Casey said. "Assad has slaughtered more than 100,000 people and stoked sectarianism throughout the region. He has crossed more than a red line and the United States must act in the interest of our national and global security."

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