Pentagon backed plan for U.S. to arm Syrian rebels

Source: FreedomHouse2/flickr Pentagon leaders told Congress on Thursday that they…

Free Syrian Army rebels in Idlib north of Syria
Source: FreedomHouse2/flickr

Pentagon leaders told Congress on Thursday that they had supported a recommendation to arm Syrian rebels promoted by the State Department and CIA but which President Barack Obama ultimately decided against.

Obama’s government has limited its support to non-lethal aid for the rebels who, despite receiving weapons from countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are poorly armed compared to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army and loyalist militias.

Syria’s 22-month-long conflict has killed an estimated 60,000 people. Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, has championed greater U.S. involvement and chided the Obama administration at a hearing, asking Pentagon leaders: “How many more have to die before you recommend military action?”

Source: Phil Stewart and Patricia Zengerle for Reuters

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