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Lobbying Effort Continues, but two Republican Senators Say They're Opposed

Updated: Thursday, September 5 2013, 12:37 PM EDT

It's another day of closed-door meetings in Washington, as the Obama administration tries to build support in Congress for a military strike on Syria.

The Senate Foreign Relations committee voted 10-to-7 yesterday in favor of a resolution authorizing military action. It would be limited in duration to 90 days, and American ground troops couldn't be sent into combat.

A top Obama administration official says he thinks the American people will be more supportive of a U.S. military strike on Syria, once they see Syria as a separate and distinct situation -- rather than linking it to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken told MSNBC, "This is not Afghanistan. This is not Iraq. This is not even Libya." He said it's not "open-ended," and won't involve "boots on the ground."

The argument failed to sway two Republican senators, who announced today that they will oppose any military action. David Vitter of Louisiana and Mike Lee of Utah are members of the Armed Services Committee who took part yesterday in briefings with top defense officials.

In a statement, Lee said the risks of Obama's plan outweigh the gains. And Vitter said he's concerned that after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, getting involved in Syria will make it impossible to muster the "resolve to stop a nuclear Iran."

AP-WF-09-05-13 1625GMT

Lobbying Effort Continues, but two Republican Senators Say They're Opposed

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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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