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US lays groundwork for possible Syria strike

Updated: Saturday, September 7 2013, 11:28 AM EDT

By JULIE PACE
AP White House Correspondent


WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is laying the groundwork for potential military action in Syria in the coming days, with intelligence agencies readying additional evidence about last week's alleged chemical weapons attack and high-ranking U.S. officials declaring there is "no doubt" that Bashar Assad's regime is to blame.
 
Administration officials say Assad's actions pose a direct threat to U.S. national security, providing President Barack Obama with a potential legal justification for launching a strike without authorization from the United Nations or Congress. However, officials did not detail how the U.S. was directly threatened by an attack contained within Syria's borders. Nor did they present concrete proof that Assad was responsible.
 
The U.S. and international partners were unlikely to undertake military action before Thursday, when Britain holds an emergency meeting of Parliament.


   AP-WF-08-28-13 0715GMT

US lays groundwork for possible Syria strike


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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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