News / Middle East

    White House to Discuss Arming Syrian Rebels

    A Free Syrian Army fighter takes cover during clashes with Syrian Army in central Aleppo in this August 7, 2012 photo.
    A Free Syrian Army fighter takes cover during clashes with Syrian Army in central Aleppo in this August 7, 2012 photo.
    VOA News
    U.S. officials say a series of urgent White House meetings this week could bring a decision on whether to arm Syrian opposition rebels.

    Aides from the State and Defense Departments and other agencies have prepared the groundwork for a top-level meeting Wednesday between President Barack Obama and his national security staff. The meeting was made urgent by concerns that pro-government forces backed by Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah militia may be gaining the upper hand in the Syrian conflict.

    A State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki says a "wider range of options" has been prepared for the president's consideration.

    Syrian opposition leaders have warned the U.S. that their rebellion could face devastating losses without greater support.

    As many as 5,000 Hezbollah fighters are now in Syria, helping the government pursue its military campaign after capturing the town of Qusair near the Lebanese border last week. Syrian forces apparently are now poised for an attack on the strategic city of Homs.

    Although a decision has not been made, U.S. officials say Obama is learning toward sending weapons to moderate rebel units. The president already has ruled out any intervention that would require U.S. military forces inside Syria.

    Other options, such as deploying American air power to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria, while far less likely, are now being more seriously debated.

    Any intervention essentially would pit the U.S. and regional allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar in a proxy war against Iran, the main arms provider for the Syrian government, and Hezbollah, which is increasingly supplying the manpower.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    June 11, 2013 11:26 AM
    Is it the fear of a war with Iran or respect for Hezbollah that is keeping the US from taking a stand on this matter? While it is not right for the people to take over power by means of protests and riots, it is equally not right for Hezbollah to be part of the resolution of the conflict in Syria. Now that Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah have taken a position, it should be the right time to route it and remove once and for all time Iran's infiltration and stranglehold on the region by matching force with force.

    Had Assad showed a distancing from these axis of terror and evil, the country would have been allowed to resolve its own problem its own way, but since he has drawn the curators of evil terror into it, the US should take a cue to once and for all time quash the evil that these duo access of terror and evil present by dealing them a blow from which recovery will be impossible. A no-fly-zone, Yes. But that should be prelude to an encampment of international force to take care of such uprising in the future that might give Hezbollah room to regroup. It should be such as will permanently silence not only Hezbollah but also Iran and its evil cohorts for ever.

    by: Anonymous
    June 11, 2013 9:24 AM
    If the US does not want to arm the People of Syria to protect themselves from Bashar or to help hold Bashar responsible for his crimes, then they can at least go in and take him out. In any modern country Bashar would be facing war crimes in the Hague long long ago. If the West is not going to arm Syrian people or go in and take out Bashar, then they can at least push for the International Criminal Court to put a warrant out for Bashar, for the ruthless killing of many tens of thousands of innocent civilians.

    Bashar has been dropping bombs in residential areas for years with no respect for any human life whatsoever. It is time that he pay the price for killing at least one percent of those he murdered. A hearing would easily find Bashar guilty of thousands of murders, destruction and genocide all across Syria. Sure some will say that opposition is guilty of some crimes, there's the odd bad apple in every barrel but we know Bashars name and the fact that he's already guilty of murders, we do not know the name of any opposition criminals or particular incidents and those responsible. Investigate them too if the world likes but we all know Bashar is the absolute source of the problem, a criminal against the New Syrian Nation.... The world would then truly find Bashar guilty of terrorism against the Nation of Syria, no different than his father did, like father like son.

    Another interesting thing is that if the International Criminal Court did put out a warrant for him, then maybe some of these countries that support him would think twice about backing a war criminal guilty of murdering thousands. Anyone who backed him would be considered a terrorist as well. The world DOES NOT need people like Bashar, a terrorist calling all opposition terrorists and doing anything he can to kill all opposition he can. Thank God for these other countries soldiers coming to help the FSA, there would be so many more innocent people killed by Bashar if it wasn't for them even they have more balls to help the Syrian people than the West does.
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    June 11, 2013 11:33 AM
    Please don't send arms, these people cannot be trusted. If anything can be done, let the CIA do something about Assad as punishment for leaning on Iran and Hezbollah. The Opposition is terrorist in nature and there is no way the US support will not end up in the hands of al qaida or one other dangerous terrorist group, sunni or shia. They are both evil in their ramifications.

    by: Joan Camara
    June 11, 2013 4:52 AM
    I just don't believe this. What kind of angels are these so called rebels? Surely there's not a muslim among them! I doubt our govt will learn not to feed the enemy, untill they turn those same arms against us. Nope, not even then I'm sure.

    by: D Cody from: Tampa, FL
    June 10, 2013 10:20 PM
    The US should avoid any involvement in Syria. As bad as Assad is, he is still the devil that we do know and he is afraid of Israel. The various rebel groups cannot be trusted and their goal is not democracy.

    by: JohnL
    June 10, 2013 5:55 PM
    It's nice to know that after all these years the White House is thinking about helping to arm the rebels. It took the Russians and Iranians about five minutes to decide to help their friends. Oh I forgot, they might use the bullets to shoot at Americans. Someday we will have a reasonably qualified president. That day is obviously not today. And I voted for him the first time around. Dumb me.
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    June 11, 2013 11:38 AM
    A muslim to fight against one of his own? You wish it was G. Bush era. Sorry Obama wants to leave office "clean". Who knows, he might want to live in one of those countries when he retires - Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon... you never can tell.
    In Response

    by: JohnL
    June 10, 2013 11:03 PM
    Going to war is not the same as giving bullets to someone who has a good reason to fight. Anyone who thinks they are the same obviously has never been in a real war.
    In Response

    by: Amin from: Texas
    June 10, 2013 7:57 PM
    How idiotic. Where is US national security imperiled? Are we just going to keep going to war because we don't like someone?

    by: Ed Hemp from: Hempstead
    June 10, 2013 3:36 PM
    No! This American does not support any action on Syria. This is a local problem...not mine. Turkey and Israel should handle this with Nato. Let Europe clean up this mess.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora