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Intelligence Officials to Brief Lawmakers on Syria

Updated: Thursday, August 29 2013, 01:17 PM EDT

A U.S. intelligence report that outlines the evidence against Syria says some questions remain about Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons last week.

According to intelligence officials, the report acknowledges that there's no proof of who actually controls some of Syria's chemical weapons. And it says there are doubts about whether Bashar Assad himself ordered the attack.

Still, a senior U.S. official who has read the report says it assesses with "high confidence" that the regime was responsible for firing a barrage of rockets filled with a chemical weapon that hit suburbs east and west of Damascus last week.

President Barack Obama's national security adviser and his intelligence chief are among those who'll brief lawmakers tonight by teleconference, to help make the case for U.S. action against Syria.

Some Democrats and Republicans in Congress are pushing Obama to explain why the U.S. should attack Syria and involve Americans in the country's deadly civil conflict.

AP-WF-08-29-13 1631GMT

Intelligence Officials to Brief Lawmakers on 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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