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Details on crisis in Syria

Updated: Saturday, September 7 2013, 11:28 AM EDT
US readies rationale for possible Syria strike
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and British Prime minister David Cameron have conferred for the second time in recent days. The subject: response plans to Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons against his own people.
But any military action by the U.S. and international partners is unlikely to come before Thursday. That's when Cameron will convene an emergency meeting of Parliament where lawmakers are expected to vote to clear the way for a British response to the purported chemical weapons attack.
Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence agencies are preparing to release intercepted communications aimed at proving Assad perpetrated a large-scale chemical weapons attack on civilians.
Administration officials argue that Assad's actions pose a direct threat to U.S. national security. That gives Obama potential legal authorization to strike without authorization from the United Nations or Congress.
AP-WF-08-28-13 0338GMT
Already questions about end game in Syria


WASHINGTON (AP) -- As the Obama administration prepares to strike Syria in retribution for chemical weapons attacks in its civil war, questions are rising about the end game.
National security experts and some U.S. officials question whether a limited strike can have any lasting impact on Syrian President Bashar Assad, or whether it will simply harden Assad's resolve.
And it's not clear how much a strike could help the beleaguered and splintered Syrian opposition, or lessen concerns that hard-line rebels may not support America if they do seize control of the country.
A limited, short-term operation, however, may be a compromise between military leaders worried about entering a civil war and White House determined to show President Barack Obama meant it when he said the use of chemical weapons would cross a line.
AP-WF-08-27-13 2129GMT

Biden: No doubt Syrian regime used chem weapons

HOUSTON (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden says there is no doubt that Syrian President Bashar Assad's (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) government is responsible for the heinous use of chemical weapons.
Biden's comments Tuesday make him the highest-ranking U.S. official to say the Syrian regime is the culprit in a large-scale chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21.
Biden says the Syrian government is the only actor in the 2-year civil war that possesses and can deliver chemical weapons. He says Assad has blocked U.N. investigators from the site and has been bombing it for days.
The White House says President Barack Obama hasn't settled on how to respond to the attack. The Pentagon says U.S. military forces are ready to strike Syria if Obama gives the order.
Biden spoke at the American Legion's national convention.
AP-WF-08-27-13 1954GMT

US signals readiness to strike Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says any military action against Syria will be limited, and won't be aimed at forcing Bashar Assad from power.
The administration is getting ready to declare formally that chemical weapons have been used in Syria's civil war. And White House spokesman Jay Carney says it would be "preposterous" to suggest that anyone other than the Syrian government was responsible for last week's attack.
The White House says President Barack Obama hasn't yet settled on what action to take in response to the use of deadly gases -- a development that Obama had said last year would cross a red line. But Carney says, "The options we are considering are not about regime change."
Officials had planned to release an intelligence report today that would more formally link Assad to the attack, but that release now appears to have been pushed back until later in the week.
The U.S. and allies in Europe appear to be laying the groundwork for the most aggressive response since Syria's civil war began more than two years ago. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today that U.S. military forces stand ready to strike Syria at once if Obama gives the order.
AP-WF-08-27-13 1938GMT
White House: Chemical attack requires response

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House is making a legal argument for undertaking a military response to the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria, but says any action taken against the Syrian regime is not intended to depose Syrian President Bashar Assad.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States and 188 other nations are signatories to a chemical weapons convention opposing the use of such weapons. He says those countries have a stake in ensuring that international norms must be respected. Carney says that there must be a response to a clear violation of those norms.
But Carney says, quote, "The options we are considering are not about regime change."
He says a change in Syria's leadership must occur through political negotiations.
AP-WF-08-27-13 1734GMT
Top lawmakers call for military response in Syria


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two top lawmakers are calling for an immediate U.S. military response to the Syria's suspected chemical weapons attack that killed at least a hundred civilians last week.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker is calling for the U.S. to respond in a "surgical and proportional way, something that gets their attention." The Tennessee lawmaker says such a response should not involve U.S. troops on the ground, however.
Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel of New York says the U.S. must respond "quickly," together with NATO allies, possibly using cruise missile strikes, as the U.S. and NATO did in Libya.
A senior administration official said Sunday there is "very little doubt" a chemical weapon was used, but added the president had not yet decided how to respond.
Corker and Engel appeared on "Fox News Sunday."
AP-WF-08-25-13 1356GMT
 Details on crisis in Syria

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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.


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