Shortly after issuing a statement that the Syrian government crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons on its people, the White House decided to deliver small scale ammunitions, arms and anti-tank weapons to rebel fighters in Syria, reports said Friday.
However, delivering arms to Syrian rebels will take weeks, said White House officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, Obama’s decision to arm Syrian rebels has started a debate as to how far will the decision plunge the US into the Syrian civil war. Analysts say that the decision has to cross scores of troubles pertaining to logistics, politics and diplomacy.
The Obama administration has decided to maintain silence over questions about the details of widened US military assistance to Syrian rebels. A US deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said that the administration will boost the range and capacity of the military assistance.
"You need to have some sense of where any assistance you're providing is going, whose hands they're falling into and what potential dangers may be associated with heavier weapons systems," Rhodes told reporters Friday, according to LA Times.
Meanwhile, it has been learned that the arms will be delivered to rebels by the CIA.
White House sources hinted that the administration might supply the antitank weapons that rebels have been asking for. Analysts say that even if the delivery of arms and ammunitions do start soon, it will take the CIA weeks to train rebel fighters how to use the sophisticated weapons.
"What we need, really, is weapons and ammunition, and especially anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles," Gen. Salim Idriss of the rebel Free Syrian Army told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Friday.
The UK supported the US decision, but Syria and Russia attempted to throw into doubt the integrity in the US claims and subsequent change in position. The Syrian government issued a statement saying the US claims about the use of chemical weapons in Syria are “full of lies.”
The Obama administration remains undecided about the ultimate goal of US policy in Syria - whether to achieve a rebel triumph or to push the regime of President Bashar Assad to the dialogue table.