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Updated Sep 5, 2013 - 8:05 am

McCain plans Arizona town halls to discuss Syria

PHOENIX -- U.S. Sen. John McCain plans town hall meetings in Phoenix and Tucson on Thursday to discuss potential military action in Syria.

The Republican senator also will talk to constituents about immigration reform and other issues affecting the state.

He plans one event in Phoenix at Burton Barr Library at 10 a.m. and another in Tucson in the afternoon.

The gatherings come as President Barack Obama is requesting speedy congressional backing of a military strike in Syria to retaliate for a deadly chemical weapons attack.

The Obama administration blames Syrian President Bashar Assad for the chemical weapons attack that occurred on Aug. 21. Obama said more than 1,400 civilians died, including at least 400 children. Other casualty estimates are lower, however, and the Syrian government denies responsibility, contending rebels fighting to topple the government are to blame.

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