U.S. and Europe work for an option to provide non-lethal military equipment to Syrian rebels 2702133

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Defence News - Syria

 
 
Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 02:49 PM
 
U.S. and Europe work for an option to provide non-lethal military equipment to Syrian rebels.
The United States and Europe may begin equipping the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) with vehicles, body armor, night vision gear and binoculars, as well as military training. The decision is expected after a key conference on Syria in Rome. The Obama administration is working with European allies on possibly giving non-lethal equipment to Syrian rebel fighters, U.S. and European officials said.
     
The United States and Europe may begin equipping the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) with vehicles, body armor, night vision gear and binoculars, as well as military training. The decision is expected after a key conference on Syria in Rome. The Obama administration is working with European allies on possibly giving non-lethal equipment to Syrian rebel fighters, U.S. and European officials said.
Syrian rebel fighters near an home-made multi-rocket launcher in Tal Abyadh, a Syrian town close to the Turkish border.
     

Several top figures in the Obama administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and former CIA chief David Petraeus pushed for closer engagement with the Syrian rebels last year, which would likely include arming them.

The White House rejected the plan at the time, fearing that the arms would end up in the hands of Islamist forces like the Nursa Front group, which the US considers a terrorist organization. US officials said it was too difficult to fully vet the recipients of the proposed deliveries; that policy has now apparently changed.

European advocates said the Free Syrian Army should be provided with large supplies of munitions, including military vehicles, body armor and night vision goggles, as well as tactical and strategic training. This position is privately supported by Britain, France, Germany and Italy, a European official told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity.

 

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