An anonymous US official claimed that a decision on whether or not to arm the Syrian rebels was potentially due as early as this week. The question, the official claimed, appeared on White House agenda papers.
The story of the impending discussions first broke in the Associated Press, and sources close to the President stated that Secretary of State John Kerry had pushed a planned Middle East trip back in order to attend the important discussion. The creation of a no-fly zone over Syria is also to be considered.
The decision comes as the Assad regime continues to carry out damaging attacks on the disadvantaged rebels. An attack on the major city of Homs would result in the rebels being cut off from the southern portion of Syria. Hezbollah fighters have also joined the fray, working on the side of the regime. Such drastic measures by Assad have proved deadly for the rebels, who have routinely petitioned the U.S and other powers for arms and aid.
President Obama has already removed any formal military intervention from the discussion. This is due to the dangerous consequences that would accompany such an operation-Iran is a well-known supporter of the Assad regime, and Russia has also provided aid. Even actions of armament could prove dangerous for foreign relations, and could further stall peace talks.
The talks, supported by Secretary of State John Kerry, were originally scheduled for May but have been pushed to July at the earliest. At present, Assad would only gain from talks, as he continues to experience military success.
There also exists the troubling possibility that the regime has utilized chemical weapons, a condition that President Obama has referred to as a “red line” that must not be crossed. Israel has also voiced concern about its security given the expansive potential of the Syrian Civil War. Dramatic support could well turn the tide of a conflict that shows no sign of slowing down.
[Image via NPR]