White House close to decision on arming Syria rebels


cbsnews.com
June 10, 2013

Moved by the Assad regime’s rapid advance, the Obama administration could decide this week to approve lethal aid for the beleaguered Syrian rebels and will weigh the merits of a less likely move to send in U.S. air power to enforce a no-fly zone over the civil war-wracked nation, officials told The Associated Press Sunday.

White House meetings are planned over the coming days, as Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government forces are apparently poised for an attack on the key city of Homs, which could cut off Syria’s armed opposition from the south of the country. As many as 5,000 Hezbollah fighters are now in Syria, officials believe, helping the regime press on with its campaign after capturing the town of Qusair near the Lebanese border last week.

A source confirmed to CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan that U.S. officials believe they now need to “re-evaluate options,” and will be doing so at the White House this week. Another source, close to the opposition, confirmed that arming the rebels would be discussed. It was not clear whether it would be covert, or overt arming. Also unclear was how quickly the U.S. would actually be able to deliver on any new pledge.

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