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FBI to keep closer eye on Syrians living in the US

The New York Times reports the sharpened scrutiny, citing current US officials.

Leslie M. of Los Angeles stands with other opponents of a United States military strike against Syria as she and others protest at Times Square in New York.
Leslie M. of Los Angeles stands with other opponents of a United States military strike against Syria as she and others protest at Times Square in New York.
Image: Craig Ruttle/AP/Press Association Images

THE FBI IN America has increased its surveillance of Syrians living in the US ahead of a Congress debate on whether to strike against the Bashar Assad regime.

The New York Times, citing current and former senior officials, reports the move as a response to concerns that military intervention could lead to terrorist attacks.

The Obama administration has also warned various federal agencies and private companies to be extra vigilant about cyberattacks if action is taken by the US Army, according to the newspaper.

The Syrian Electronic Army have already caused some disruption to a number of companies in the past few months, including hacking the New York Times website.

As happened ahead of the NATO campaign against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, FBI agents are expected to interview hundreds of Syrians in the coming days.

The report comes as Obama prepares draft legislation to be sent to lawmakers for debate on 9 September.

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The draft resolution seeks authorisation for use of the United States armed forces as the President deems it “necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria”.

The reasons give are to protect the US and its allies against the threat posed by such weapons and to “prevent or deter [their] use or proliferation”.

Read: Obama asks Congress to authorise military action against Syria

More: 26 Syrian refugees seek asylum in Ireland as violence escalates

Putin: Idea of Assad using chemical weapons is ‘utter nonsense’

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