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

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid