Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Obama seeks $500M to train, equip Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama asked Congress on Thursday for $500 million to train and arm vetted members of the Syrian opposition, as the United States struggles for a way to stem a civil war that has also fueled the al-Qaida-inspired insurgency in neighboring Iraq.

The military training program would deepen the Obama administration's involvement in the more than four-year conflict between rebels and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. If approved by Congress, the program would supplement a covert train-and-assistance program run by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The Syria program is part of a broader $65.8 billion overseas operations request the administration sent to Capitol Hill on Thursday. The package includes $1 billion to help stabilize nations bordering Syria that are struggling with the effects of the civil war. It also formalizes a request for a previously announced $1 billion to strengthen the U.S. military presence in Central and Eastern Europe amid Russia's threatening moves in Ukraine.

The requests come as Obama faces fresh criticism of his restrained policies in Syria, which some White House opponents say allowed the Sunni insurgency pressing through Iraq to gain strength. U.S. officials increasingly see the instability in Syria and Iraq as a single challenge.

Obama hinted earlier this year he was seeking ways to boost assistance to moderate Syrian rebels who are struggling to make gains against Assad's forces.

Officials said the administration would coordinate with Congress and regional players on the specific types of training and assistance the United States would provide the opposition. One potential option would be to base U.S. personnel in Jordan and conduct the training exercise there.

The Senate Armed Services Committee already has approved a version of the sweeping defense policy bill authorizing the Defense Department to provide "equipment, supplies, training and defense services" to elements of the Syrian opposition that have been screened. The Senate could act on the bill before the August recess.

In addition to the covert train-and-equip mission, the United States has provided nearly $287 million in nonlethal assistance to the moderate opposition.

Syrian aIRSTRIKE kills, wounds dozens: A man carries a wounded girl in the aftermath of a government airstrike Thursday in the northern province of Aleppo, Syria. The attack by Syrian warplanes killed and wounded dozens of people, anti-government activists said.

Associated Press

Syrian aIRSTRIKE kills, wounds dozens: A man carries a wounded girl in the aftermath of a government airstrike Thursday in the northern province of Aleppo, Syria. The attack by Syrian warplanes killed and wounded dozens of people, anti-government activists said.

Obama seeks $500M to train, equip Syrian rebels 06/26/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire

    Criminal

    PORT RICHEY

    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body..
  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps

    College

    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Rick Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a controversial restaurant concept to occupy the Manhattan Casino, saying he made a decision 11 days before the mayoral primary because he didn't want politics to get in the way of progress in struggling Midtown.

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson speaks during a Friday press conference announcing that the Callaloo Group will open a Floribbean restraurant in the historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood. Some residents were upset with Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice, saying it will speed up gentrification of the area. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]