News / Middle East

White House: Obama Decides to Send Military Support to Syrian Rebels

Citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows members of the free Syrian Army preparing their weapons, April 25, 2013.
Citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows members of the free Syrian Army preparing their weapons, April 25, 2013.
The White House has announced a new definitive assessment that says chemical weapons have been used on a small scale by the Assad regime in Syria. President Barack Obama has made a decision to provide new assistance, including unspecified military aid, to the Syrian opposition forces.

Following what it calls a deliberative review, the White House says chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, were used on a small scale multiple times against opposition forces in the last year.

A statement says the intelligence community attaches a high confidence level to this assessment based on “multiple, independent streams of information."

It says an estimated 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date, but stresses that the casualty data is likely incomplete.

The White House provided details of the assessment to Congress, and shared information with key allies, the United Nations and Russia.

Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said President Obama's "red line" has been crossed.

Rhodes, however, made clear this does not mean any U.S. boots on the ground, but does mean new direct support to the Syrian Opposition Council and the rebel Supreme Military Council.

“This is going to be different in both scope and scale in terms of what we are providing to the SMC, than what we have provided before.  So, the president has made a decision, in part because of the assessed use of chemical weapons, to provide additional types of support to the SMC, which I cannot inventory for you but which will be aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the SMC on the ground,”Rhodes said.

Rhodes said this new aid will be in cooperation with other countries in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and in consultation with Britain and France.

At the United Nations, Britain's ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, who also is president of the Security Council, said the U.S. announcement came as no surprise.

“Speaking in my national capacity, we are not surprised by the determination made by the U.S. government.  As you know, we have said for some time we believe that there is persuasive evidence of use by the Syrian regime of chemical weapons in Syria.  In terms of the implications of that, we are in consultations with the U.S. government and other allies about the next steps in Syria,” Grant said.

White House official Ben Rhodes said there has been no decision to pursue a no-fly-zone, although contingency plans have been drawn up.  This, he said, would carry with it “great and open-ended costs” for the U.S. and international community.

Going forward, Rhodes said the U.S. will continue to consult with Syria's opposition and allies and partners about steps that have the best potential of having a positive impact on the ground.

Rhodes said the U.S. still believes a political settlement is the preferable outcome in Syria, and that the Geneva process provides a “template” for that.  Talks would have to involve the opposition and Assad regime, although he noted that Russia still has not agreed to the need for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Asked specifically how Syria's opposition needs to be improved, Rhodes listed its effectiveness as a fighting force and its cohesion, and ongoing needs for communication equipment and medical supplies.

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by: Saliheen from: Port Harcourt
June 14, 2013 4:54 AM
For how long will the impotent UN continue to fool the world on their hidden agenda? For the voice of the masses to always not be heard doesn't mean that everyone is a not a fool. "UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the near 27-month war was taking an 'unacceptable and unbearable' toll on youngsters, and Thursday's study found that at least 6561 children — 1729 of them under 10 years old — had lost their lives. 'There are also well-documented cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families, including babies, being massacred — which, along with this devastatingly high death toll, is a terrible reminder of just how vicious this conflict has become,' said Pillay." (http://news.iafrica.com/worldnews/865101.html)

What have done or said about Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Palestine and how people have been killed so far in each of the countries?
"President Barack Obama has made a decision to provide new assistance, including unspecified military aid, to the Syrian opposition forces." How many more person will be killed? Yet they complaining about 93000 death.

I think the UN is only paving way with the usual MEDIA PROPER-GANDER for the US, before going there to kill 93000 people at least.
We are tired of the UN, we need peace, why don't you mind your business let the sleeping dog lie.

by: Vladimir from: Russia
June 14, 2013 2:42 AM
Big boys play big games. They don't really care about people. The syrians will pay a great price for freedom and lives.

by: riano baggy from: indonesia
June 14, 2013 1:28 AM
i think it's wrong decision to send military to Syria, the best decision to get a big sanction to Syria government with economy,and their oil and their reverse, UN and Arab League must to hard push this sanctions.

by: Anonymous
June 14, 2013 1:18 AM
Best news I have heard in a couple of years. Assad is finished his terrorist campaign against the Syrian Nation.

by: Igor from: Russia
June 13, 2013 11:11 PM
What a shameful and foolish decision! Obama and Bush are alike. They are both liars because they have created false evidence to justify their actions. But the results will surely be different: Russia and its allies will not let the US and its accompalice do what they would do in Syria. The irony is that the blood of innocent will continue to bleed because the weapons will soon fall to the hand of Taliban and its followers.

by: adipocere from: Alabama
June 13, 2013 11:04 PM
This is perhaps the most flaccid and least inspired pretext for war I've ever seen. At least Bush had the decency to go full blown Fascist Crusade on Iraq. But, I suppose this is what passes for Hope and Change in the United States.

by: us from: us
June 13, 2013 9:05 PM
Do they actually have proof of this or is it just more propaganda to get involved in yet another war? Nothing like good old american war mongering--as long as the miliatry industrial complex can make trillions
In Response

by: mbaker from: VA
June 14, 2013 4:25 AM
We need to stay out of other peoples business. I will refuse my children from ever joining the military. No DRAFT sign up from this home. Any draft material that reaches our home gets burned. This country can go to hell. Our president and our government has lost our trust.
In Response

by: Matt Purvis from: US
June 14, 2013 12:06 AM
Sounds more like a President in distress over the daily revelations of scandals looking to distract the media and the citizens of this country.
In Response

by: Dr. Malek Towghi / Tauqee from: USA
June 13, 2013 9:40 PM
If not already implied, I will add the "Wall Street" to the "military industrial complex".

by: Dr. Malek Towghi / Tauqee from: USA
June 13, 2013 9:03 PM
Obama "decision to send military support to Syrian rebels" is a big mistake. It will not work. Bashar Asad's survival or fall is a question of life or death for Iran, Iraq and the Shias of other Middle Eastern countris.

Besides, Russia has no compelling or convincing reasons to betray its only friendly regime in the region. The US military support to the rebels will invite the Shias -- and the Left -- of the Arab-Islamic world to rush to the defense of the Assad regime. Also, Russia will use the US support for rebels to take 'bolder' steps to help Bashar Assad and his supporters. IT WILL BE ANOTHER VIETNAM.

by: Rudy from: USA
June 13, 2013 8:25 PM
Trolling Russia and Iran, are we? :-)

by: Ravi Singh from: Miami
June 13, 2013 8:08 PM
So, the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which was largely observed in World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and many other conflicts, in now dead. Or, at least, you're exempt from it if you have Russian and Chinese backing. Appeasing Bashar on this issue will embolden Russia and China to let their stooges use chemical weapons all over the world. Let this pass today, and tomorrow you will see Hezbollah-backed drug cartels using sarin against the US border patrol.
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