US to provide body armor and armored vehicles to Syrian rebels
The United Sates is moving to provide Syrian rebels equipment such as body armor and armored vehicles, and would also offer them military training, American and European officials have said.
The officials also said that the Obama administration could send humanitarian assistance directly to Syria's opposition political coalition.
According to the Washington Post, elements of the proposed policy, which officials cautioned have not yet been finalized, are being discussed by Secretary of State John F. Kerry in upcoming meetings with allies in Europe and the Middle East.
The move is as part of a coordinated effort to end the bloody uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
The paper pointed out that the Obama administration has not provided direct aid to the military or political side of the opposition throughout the two-year-old conflict, and U.S. officials remain opposed to providing weapons to the rebels.
The pending shift to a more active role comes as the Obama administration and its partners backing the opposition, including Britain, France and countries in Syria's region, have concluded that there is little immediate chance for a negotiated political settlement with Assad's government, the Post said.
Western officials have also acknowledged that the opposition coalition is unlikely to quickly develop a governing infrastructure or attract significant support from fence-sitting Syrian minorities and Assad supporters, it added.