Kerry, Hagel among U.S. officials briefing Congress on Syria: source

WASHINGTON Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:08am EDT

1 of 2. Free Syrian Army fighters carry weapons as they take up positions during an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo's town of Khanasir August 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ammar Abdullah

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel are among senior U.S. officials who will brief members of Congress on Thursday about the situation in Syria, a congressional aide told Reuters.

President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will also participate in the briefing to be held in conference call at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT), according to the aide, who had been informed of the briefing lineup by the White House.

While Obama has not announced a decision on military action more than a week after an apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed hundreds of people, he has left little doubt that he intends to punish President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Some Republican lawmakers and some of Obama's fellow Democrats have complained that the administration has not kept them properly informed on the situation and on a possible U.S. response.

Thursday evening's briefing by the senior officials is for leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives as well as the chairmen and ranking members of national security committees, including foreign relations, intelligence and armed services.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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