Syrian Rebel Chief: U.S. Aid Would Boost Rebels


The commander of the main Western-backed rebel group fighting in Syria said Friday he hoped that U.S. weapons will be in the hands of rebels in the near future, saying it will boost the morale of the fighters on the ground.

The comments by Gen. Salim Idris to Al-Arabiya TV followed a decision by President Barack Obama to authorize sending weapons to Syrian rebels, marking a deepening of U.S. involvement in Syria's two-year civil war.

The decision came a day after the United Nations said nearly 93,000 people have been confirmed dead in Syria's civil war, but the actual number is believed to be much higher.

In addition to the increased military aid, the U.S. also announced Thursday it had conclusive evidence that President Bashar Assad's regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against opposition forces. The White House said multiple chemical attacks last year killed up to 150 people.

Obama has said the use of chemical weapons cross a "red line" triggering greater U.S involvement in the crisis.

"We hope to have the weapons and ammunition that we need in the near future," Idris told Al-Arabiya.

"This will surely reflect positively on the rebels' morale, which is high despite attempts by the regime, Hizbullah and Iran to show that their morale after the fall of Qusayr deteriorated," he said, referring to a key town near the Lebanese border.

Assad's forces, aided by fighters from Hizbullah, captured Qusayr on June 5, dealing a heavy blow to rebels who had been entrenched in the strategic town for over a year.

Since then, the regime has shifted its attention to recapture other areas in the central Homs province and Aleppo to the north.

The regime's advances have added urgency to U.S. discussions on whether to provide the rebels with weapons.

Comments 4
Default-user-icon youssef (Guest) 14 June 2013, 16:35

Thanks for sharing your insightful comment flaming thrower

Thumb lebnanfirst 14 June 2013, 16:40

The US government finally recognized that to have a chance at winning one must anti up. Can't win if one is not in the game. After all, Russia and Iran lately signaled a sold posture.

Now the question is, will it be enough to arrest and then reverse the latest gains by Bashar's army? O ly time will tell.

Default-user-icon Bill (Guest) 14 June 2013, 20:45

Do you think Hassan nasrallah is better?

Missing -karim_m3 14 June 2013, 20:52

"This will surely reflect positively on the rebels' morale, which is high".

What do you mean their morale is high? After they were torn to pieces in Qusayr, multiple FSA-Al Qaeda terrorist fighters came out and admitted that their morale was in shatters. What is this terrorist barking about?