News / Middle East

Obama Plans to Arm Syrian Rebels

In this March 11, 2012 photo, a man carries a boy who was severely wounded during heavy fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian Army forces in Idlib, north Syria.
In this March 11, 2012 photo, a man carries a boy who was severely wounded during heavy fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian Army forces in Idlib, north Syria.
VOA News
Officials say the United States is proceeding with a plan to arm Syrian rebels, a move that prompted a positive early reaction from U.S. allies in Europe.

The decision came after White House officials said an intelligence report found conclusive evidence that Damascus used chemical weapons on a small scale, including deadly sarin gas, against Syrian rebels during the past year.

On Friday, Syria dismissed as "lies" the U.S. claims it had used chemical weapons against the rebels.  Syria's Foreign Ministry said the U.S. accusation was based on "fabricated information."

In this March 19, 2013 photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA, a Syrian victim who suffered an alleged chemical attack at Khan al-Assal village is treated.In this March 19, 2013 photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA, a Syrian victim who suffered an alleged chemical attack at Khan al-Assal village is treated.
x
In this March 19, 2013 photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA, a Syrian victim who suffered an alleged chemical attack at Khan al-Assal village is treated.
In this March 19, 2013 photo released by the Syrian official news agency, SANA, a Syrian victim who suffered an alleged chemical attack at Khan al-Assal village is treated.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Friday that London agrees with the U.S. assessment on chemical weapons use.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also welcomed what he called the "clear U.S. statement."  He said the use of chemical weapons is "completely unacceptable."

Russia, Syria's ally, said the evidence provided by the U.S. "does not look convincing."

U.S. intelligence officials have been saying for months they suspect Syria's government has used chemical weapons.  But Mr. Obama had said he needed to see firm evidence before deciding on his next move.  The U.S. has so far provided only non-lethal aid to the rebels.



What is Sarin?
  • Man-made nerve agent originally developed as a pesticide
  • Possibly used during Iraq-Iran war
  • Used in 1995 Tokyo subway attack
  • Highly toxic, odorless, tasteless, colorless liquid
  • Exposure can be by inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption
  • People can recover with treatment from mild or moderate exposure

On Thursday, U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said President Obama decided to authorize direct military support to the opposition.  U.S. officials later acknowledged this support would include weapons and ammunition.

Rhodes also stressed Obama views the use of chemical weapons as a "red line" that would prompt greater U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict.

But he cautioned the White House still does not support sending U.S. troops to Syria, and that no decision has been made on other military options, such as the enforcement of a no-fly zone.

Obama has been reluctant to arm the Syrian rebels, out of concern the weapons may end up in the hands of Islamic extremists that make up a growing part of the opposition forces fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Buck Mast from: Tennessee
June 14, 2013 9:31 AM
Stupid,very,very stupid.Syria is nothing more than bloodthirsty Muslim terrorists at war with bloodthirsty Muslim terrorists.If we help the rebels ,then after the war they will turn on us like a rabid dog-have we learned nothing?


by: ali baba from: new york
June 14, 2013 9:27 AM
did the united state learn from their mistake. I do not think so. Us arm Libyan rebel and we had the American ambassador killed. if the rebel win .there will be a blood in every part of Syrian and establish another radical Islam regime is Kerry know what he is doing.?


by: Jon Phillips from: USA
June 14, 2013 9:23 AM
They have WMD's!!!

Where have I heard that before?

The USA, arming our future enemies since the 1950's.

In Response

by: nycityman from: New York, NY
June 14, 2013 10:04 AM
Obama needs to create a distraction from his own domestic troubles at this time. It will also give him a more "Presidential" look, (i.e. a more hawkish posture). The arms manufacturers will love him I'm sure. And in the end, if the "rebels" turn on us with the same weapons we gave them, then we will just have to go defend democracy.
War is not just big business, it's the business from which all else stems. We need to fight someone all the time, and it really doesn't matter who we are fighting as long as we are fighting someone.


by: Hatem Zaki from: Egypt
June 14, 2013 9:08 AM
I think U.S.A is take a very dangerous step in Syrian civil war .USA must pay attention and remember the Afghan lesson .the Extremists will reuse these weapons against Satan and his allies .the American citizen will be the victim as usual .whether soldier or civilian .so don't give them weapons generously or you will pay the price dearly


by: Paris Tun from: Burma
June 14, 2013 8:27 AM
Now, US have decided to arm the rebels. But when will the Assad's regime fall and when will the Syrians will be in the mode of "rebuilding Syria"? And will the Syrians get enough support, when they rebuild their country? Too many questions, huh? And I don't think that the most powerful man on earth, Obama will have the answer for those questions. Too bad for the women and children of Syria, huh?


by: Michael from: USA
June 14, 2013 7:37 AM
The National Security Advisor's comments cast a long shadow over the Syrian government. The public should expect news reports that describe how these new arms will prevent chemical weapon attacks. The administration is being fair by making its actions known


by: Sasanka Sekhar Singha
June 14, 2013 6:07 AM
U S intelligence found that Syrian government forces used by chemical weapons. Washington is moving a plan to provide arms the Syrian rebels.Deputy national security adviser said Damascus used chemical weapons------U S would provide weapons and ammumtion in the aid pakage to the rebels-------


by: Colin Wellstead from: Australia
June 14, 2013 6:06 AM
Where is the evidence ? Not allowed to tell us because of 'national security I guess - give me a break ! How much of this BS do they expect us to swallow ?

The usual suspects are lining up the ducks again as they did in Iraq and Syria - This latest 'evidence' has all the merit of the litany of lies that have preceded this nonsense. The sooner these Western psychopathic leaders are made to answer for their crimes against our society and the other communities they are destroying the better off humanity will be to be able to exist in peace.

In Response

by: Dave
June 14, 2013 9:27 AM
Colin,

French reporters brought back samples. It was in the news 2 weeks ago. The delivery method was a mortar. Maybe you should pay attention more.

Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid