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Syria-Related Protests Held Outside White House

Updated: Saturday, August 31 2013, 03:53 PM EDT
Demonstrators have gathered outside the White House as President Barack Obama says he'll seek congressional authorization for the use of force in Syria.

Anti-war protesters congregated outside the White House fence Saturday, holding yellow signs and chanting slogans against military intervention.
Syrian-Americans assembled nearby to demand U.S. action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Military action would be in response to a chemical weapons attack the U.S. says Bashad's government carried out against civilians.

Roman Kishi, a Syrian-American doctor in northern Virginia, says the only available option is to take out Assad. He says now is the right time.

Anti-war protester Tristan Brosnan disagreed, saying the civil war had been going on for a while and there was no reason for the U.S. to change course.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.Syria-Related Protests Held Outside White House

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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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