Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

U.S. has yet to deliver promised arms to Syria rebels

Lebanese Army investigators inspect the site of Thursday’s deadly car bomb explosion.

Associated Press

Lebanese Army investigators inspect the site of Thursday’s deadly car bomb explosion.

WASHINGTON — More than two months after they were promised, U.S. weapons and ammunition have not reached America's allies among the Syrian rebels, and their delivery date remains unclear, according to the Syrian opposition and a Mideast diplomat.

Khalid Saleh, an official of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, said in a telephone interview from Turkey that, while U.S. officials continue to promise arms, "nothing has come through yet, and we haven't been given a specific date when we'll see them." The rebels, who have been pressing for months for antitank and antiaircraft weapons, have still not been told what kind of military aid they will receive, he said.

The White House announced June 13 that, in light of its conclusion that the Syrian government had used lethal chemical weapons in the 2-year-old civil war, the administration would provide "military assistance" to the rebels.

The deliveries, which White House officials promised in "weeks, not months," were seen as a step toward greater U.S. military involvement. U.S. agencies have so far provided only nonlethal equipment, such as mobile radios, and $1 billion in humanitarian aid.

But, as the slow pace of the arms deliveries underscores, the administration remains conflicted about the move. Fearing that the arms could fall into the hands of Islamist militants who make up a growing part of the rebel forces, officials have been moving carefully to vet potential recipients of the arms.

Although the White House announced in May that it would begin military assistance, it has not acknowledged publicly that it will send arms. But lawmakers have spoken publicly about the plans, and administration officials have also confirmed them.

Some lawmakers contend that Congress should step in to halt even the limited U.S. plans.

Last month, planning for the arms deliveries was held up by objections from the intelligence committees. Some members argued that the deliveries were pointless because they would be too little to make a difference, while others worried that they could be the first step toward American military entanglement.

The committees, which don't have formal power to block the administration, eventually acquiesced.

But Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee and an opponent of arming the rebels, predicts that Congress will vote on whether to fund it. "If it were brought to a vote today it would go down," he said.

Talk of dragging Lebanon into war

One of Lebanon's most powerful Sunni politicians accused the leader of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah on Saturday of dragging the country further into neighboring Syria's civil war. Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's comments come two days after a deadly car bombing struck a Hezbollah neighborhood south of Beirut. Many people in Lebanon viewed the blast as retaliation for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's armed support for Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

Associated Press

U.S. has yet to deliver promised arms to Syria rebels 08/17/13 [Last modified: Saturday, August 17, 2013 9:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  2. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  3. Another suspicious death in Tampa's Seminole Heights

    Crime

    TAMPA — Police were investigating what they were calling a suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night, near the location of two fatal shootings last week.

    Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan addresses reporters about the latest suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL | Times]
  4. Duke tops preseason coaches' basketball poll; Gators No. 7

    College

    Duke has been tabbed basketball's preseason No. 1 for the second straight season in the coaches' poll, released Thursday.

    Florida point guard Chris Chiozza launches the shot of last season’s NCAA Tournament, a winning 3
against Wisconsin that put the Gators into the Elite Eight. Chiozza returns to lead a UF team that’s getting its share of preseason attention, including a No. 7 ranking in the coaches’ poll.
  5. Richard Spencer speaks, and Gainesville emerges weary but at peace

    News

    GAINESVILLE — Fists raised, a sea of defiant student protesters at the University of Florida relentlessly shouted down the white nationalist on stage. Richard Spencer paced, irritated, clinging to his chance to talk.

    Protesters scream at supporters of Richard Spencer after his speech at the Phillips Center at the University of Florida.  [Thursday October 19, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]