The US administration’s decision to arm rebels has not always proven to be too far sighted a move (a good case in point for this would be their decision to arm the Taliban to fight the former USSR advances in Afghanistan in the 1980s) though their past mistakes aren’t stopping them from deciding to support rebels in Syria. The US government has already announced that it would provide aid to the opposition forces in Syria to help them counter the recent airstrikes and shelling ordered by the Syrian government.
However, the Obama administration isn’t speaking out about just what the aid will contain, how far it would go in support of these opposition forces and what steps it would take to ensure that the aid helps Syrians instead of allowing them to destroy their own country. On Saturday, the Friends of Syria group met US Secretary of State John Kerry in Qatar after President Obama’s decision to arm Syrian rebels was announced.
The full details of US policy have not been revealed though Syria’s neighbors, its supporters, the supporters of the rebels as well as the rebels themselves are deeply divided about what the aid would mean for the country. Spokespeople for the Free Syrian Army have already stated that they would ask the US government to impose a no-fly zone over parts of the country and arm them with antiaircraft missiles and other heavy weapons to help them protect themselves against airstrikes ordered by the Syrian government.
Even though nations that support the opposition movement in Syria claim that the rebels have been provided with antiaircraft and anti-tank weaponry, the rebels themselves claim that they haven’t received anything near the kind of potent weaponry that they need. Neither the rebels nor the US government has offered any kind of assurance that the aid or the weapons would not be used to harm civilians that support the Syrian government.
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Military analysts say that the Syrian civil war’s momentum has shifted in the Assad regime’s favor after it increased the use of airstrikes in rebel-occupied areas in the recent weeks which resulted in heavy rebel and civilian causalities. Some military analysts even believe that the US decision to arm rebels in the country comes a little too late as the Assad regime appears to be winning the war on the ground for now.