After non-lethal aid,Obama mulls arming Syrian rebels

The White House is once again considering supplying weapons to Syria’s armed opposition,senior officials said Tuesday. Such a decision

Written by New York Times | Washington | Published:May 2, 2013 1:12 am

MARK LANDLER & RICK GLADSTONE

The White House is once again considering supplying weapons to Syria’s armed opposition,senior officials said Tuesday. Such a decision would be a policy shift for the Obama administration,which has stepped up its non-lethal aid but stopped short of lethal weaponry and has expressed reluctance about greater military entanglements in the Syrian civil war.

President Barack Obama has not decided whether to provide arms,these officials said,and it is still unclear what kinds of weapons the US would supply to the insurgency.

In a statement on Tuesday evening,the spokeswoman for the National Security Council,Caitlin M Hayden,said,“Our assistance to the Syrian opposition has been on an upward trajectory.” She said,“ The President has directed his national security team to identify additional measures so that we can continue to increase our assistance.”

Such a move would bring the US in line with countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar,which are funneling arms to the rebels,and with Britain and France,which favour the lifting of a European Union arms embargo to Syria to assist the insurgents seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

Officials said,the Pentagon has prepared a menu of options for Obama that range from airstrikes and commando raids to the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Syria.

Officials said the Obama administration was also looking for ways to increase its aid to the rebels.

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