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Sen. Cornyn, Several Lawmakers Briefed on Plans for Syria

Updated: Tuesday, September 10 2013, 10:20 AM CDT

Texas Senator John Cornyn and other members of Congress spoke to the media Tuesday morning following a bipartisan meeting with President Barack Obama about Syria.

Cornyn released a statement, saying there were many questions left unanswered, and that President Obama should explain to America the national interests at stake when it comes Syria.

The president has said several times in the past week he wants to send a message to Syria, that using chemical weapons against civilians is unacceptable, but he has said he wants to do it, without sending troops. He has talked about possibly using missiles, and it was reported yesterday that several U.S. military ships were moved closer to Syria.

The United Nations says the two-year civil war has caused two million people to flee the country, half of them just in the past six months, and another four million are without homes.

Congress will have its first chance to officially vote on a plan when it returns from the summer break next week, but there are some lawmakers who don't want to wait that long.

Sen. Cornyn, Several Lawmakers Briefed on Plans for 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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