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July 23, 2013 8:42 am

Report: Obama Plans to Move Forward With Arming of Syrian Rebels

avatar by Zach Pontz

Free Syrian Army rebels cleaning their AK47s in Aleppo, Syria, during the country's civil war on Oct. 19, 2012. Photo: VOA News/Wikimedia Commons.

President Barack Obama plans to move forward with a plan to arm Syrian rebels, after concerns over the move raised by Congress were resolved in recent days, CNN reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed official.

The official’s comments on Monday came only a few hours after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), said Washington planned to move ahead with the plan.

“The House Intelligence Committee has very strong concerns about the strength of the administration’s plans in Syria and its chances for success,” Rogers said. “After much discussion and review, we got a consensus that we could move forward with what the administration’s plans and intentions are in Syria consistent with committee reservations.”

The plan has been criticized by several high-ranking officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, who said, in a letter released Monday, that U.S. military involvement in Syria would likely cost billions of dollars and carry a range of risks for the forces involved.

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“It is no less than an act of war,” Dempsey wrote in the letter to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He also wrote that the United States has learned from the past 10 years “that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state.”

In June, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had already begun operations to help arm Syrian rebels battling the forces of that country’s president, Bashar al-Assad.

According to diplomats and U.S. officials briefed on the plans, the agency has been moving weapons into Jordan via a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within the coming months.

According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 100,000 people have been killed since the start of Syria’s conflict over two years ago.

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