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US forces move closer to Syria as options weighed

Updated: Saturday, September 7 2013, 11:27 AM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. naval forces are moving closer to Syria as President Barack Obama considers military options for responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad government.
 
Obama is stressing that a quick intervention in the Syrian civil war is problematic, given the international considerations that should precede a military strike.
 
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, traveling to Asia, declined to discuss any specific force movements while saying that Obama had asked the Pentagon to prepare military options for Syria.
 
U.S. defense officials say the Navy has sent a fourth warship armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea but without immediate orders for any missile launch into Syria.
 
According to reports, a chemical attack in a suburb of the Syrian capital killed at least 100 people this week. 

AP-WF-08-24-13 0735GMT
US forces move closer to Syria as options weighed


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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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