July 24, 2013
Rebel forces seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad hope
to receive arms from the United States as early as next month after two
key US congressional committees approved the weapons shipments,
according to media reports.
“We think August is the date,” The New York Times cited a Syrian opposition leader as saying in an email Monday night.
The intelligence committees in both the US Senate and House of
Representatives last week signed off on the White House’s plan to
allocate US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) resources to provide
weapons, training, and logistics and intelligence support to the Syrian
rebels, though US officials only confirmed this week that the committees
had approved the program.
The exact timeline of the deliveries was not immediately clear Tuesday, but the Washington Post reported that they are set to begin in the next several weeks.
Syrian rebel supporters hope the arms shipments will begin in August
and will include “a large number of small weapons,” including rifles and
anti-tank weapons, Louay Sakka, co-founder of the Syrian Support Group,
which backs the Free Syrian Army rebel forces, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
US Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan and head of the House
Intelligence Committee, said in a statement Monday that the committee
approved the White House’s plans for Syria despite “very strong concerns
about the strength of the administration’s plans in Syria and its
chances for success.
The Senate Intelligence Committee last week said it had reached a
similar position as the House committee, The New York Times reported.