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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth 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.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs