The United States will arm Syrian rebels after announcing it believes there is substantial evidence showing chemical weapons were used by government forces.
CIA tests on blood, urine, and hair samples from dead and wounded rebel fighters showed the presence of sarin nerve gas supports previous claims made by British and French intelligence services.
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has denied that the government used any chemical weapons in the more than two-year-long civil war.
The White House released a statement on Thursday confirming the use of chemical weapons, which US President Barack Obama previously stated would be crossing a red line in the bloody conflict. The statement read, in part:
“Following a deliberative review our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.”
The statement added that between 100 and 150 people have died from chemical weapons attacks in the country so far, though casualty data is likely incomplete.
The assessments by the United States mean that Syria has crossed the red line. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has been one of the strongest proponents for US involvement in the Middle Eastern nation. He made a secret trip across the border last month to meet with Syria rebel leaders.
McCain revealed that he was told on Thursday President Obama will help the Syrian rebels by providing arms. While the exact types of weapons the US will provide are not yet known, some believe they will include small arms, ammunition, assault rifles, and some anti-tank weaponry.
The CIA will likely be tasked with teaching the revels how to use the weapons the White House agrees to supply.
Do you think the United States is right to supply the Syrian rebels with arms?
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