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‘US officials say Obama ready to arm Syria rebels’

By on May 2, 2013
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US President Barack Obama is preparing to send lethal arms to the opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday amid growing evidence that the regime has used chemical weapons.

The Post quoted the officials as saying political negotiations to oust Assad from power remains Obama’s preferred option, but supplying weapons to rebels is one of several options under consideration.

According to the report, the Obama administration is pressuring Russian President Vladimir Putin to drop his support for Assad amid the reports he used chemical weapons. Obama is expected to make a decision on arming the opposition in the coming weeks, prior to a June meeting with Putin, the Post quoted officials as saying.

“We’re clearly on an upward trajectory,” the Post quoted a senior official as saying. “We’ve moved over to assistance that has a direct military purpose.”

Obama, the officials reportedly said, is considering a range of options including establishing a no fly zone in Syria.

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