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Sen. McConnell to Vote 'No' on Syria Resolution

Updated: Tuesday, September 10 2013, 10:34 AM EDT

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will oppose President Barack Obama's resolution authorizing a military strike against Syria.

The Kentucky Republican says no vital national security risk is at play and there are too many unanswered questions about the United States' long-term strategy in Syria.

McConnell says the proposal is, quote, "utterly detached from a wider strategy to end the civil war" in Syria.

McConnell becomes the first congressional leader to oppose Obama on his plans to punish Syria's President Bashar Assad. The White House accuses Assad of using chemical weapons against his own people.

Congressional support for a strike has been weakening even as lawmakers scramble to respond to a Russian proposal to secure Assad's chemical arsenal.

AP-WF-09-10-13 1427GMT

Sen. McConnell to Vote 'No' on Syria Resolution


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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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