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Congress to convene today to discuss Syria

Updated: Thursday, September 12 2013, 03:28 PM CDT

Despite some lawmakers returning last week, congress isn't convening until today.

This week starts with a major push on the white house's proposal, as the full congress returns to Washington from a month-long recess.

Secretary of State John Kerry will also be heading back to lead an intelligence briefing in the house -- once again making the case for military intervention in Syria.

Over the weekend, Kerry met with members of the Arab league...

"We are not seeking to become engaged in or party to or take over Syria's civil war."

...he says Saudi Arabia will support military intervention in Syria.

"They have supported the strike, and they support taking action. They believe it's very important to do that."

President Barack Obama left the white house to join a Sunday dinner at the naval observatory, where republican senators joined vice president Joe Biden at his home to talk about Syria.

As the Obama administration conducts its full-court press on world leaders and on lawmakers in Washington, the president will appeal to the nation in a speech, Tuesday night; he's previewing that in a series of interviews today.

Last week, a senate committee passed a re-written version of the president's proposal. Debate on that starts on Tuesday.

As for the house, republican leaders have said they won't act on the white house proposal until after the senate does. It's still unclear whether they'll vote on the senate language or take the opportunity to write their own.


Congress to convene today to discuss 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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