U.S. to Move Forward with Arming Syrian Rebels
Officials announced Monday that President Barack Obama has managed to overcome congressional barriers and will be moving forward with his plan to arm Syrian rebels.
The Senate and House Intelligence committees had initially voiced apprehension over sending weapons that could easily end up in the wrong hands, especially two years into the war — but now it looks like both Democrats and Republicans have been convinced.
"We have been working with Congress to overcome some of the concerns that they initially had, and we believe that those concerns have been addressed and that we will now be able to proceed," an anonymous source told Reuters. "The committees were persuaded and we will be able to move forward."
In June, the White House announced it would give military aid to Syrian rebels, after the U.S. determined that Syrian President Bashar Assad was using chemical weapons on his own people. Congress then stalled the decision until Monday night.
The committee sessions on Syria are classified and have taken place in secret, so not much is known yet about the details of how the plan will be executed.
Although it's still not clear what kind of timeline we're looking at, rebel supporters are hoping the deliveries of U.S. military aid will start as early as August.
Not everyone feels secure about the decision, however. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told Reuters he still had "very strong concerns" about the plan, while a special peace envoy for Syria of the United Nations and the Arab League said he "would like to see the delivery of arms stopped to all sides."
"Arms do not make peace," the envoy added.