US leery about military aid for Syria's rebels

AP News
Posted: Mar 01, 2012 12:00 PM
US leery about military aid for Syria's rebels

The Obama administration acknowledges that countries are talking about possibly arming Syria's rebels, but says it's unclear if that will help or hurt opponents of President Bashar Assad.

The top U.S. diplomat for the Mideast, Jeffrey Feltman, tells a Senate committee he understood the Syrians defending themselves against pro-government forces.

But Feltman said Thursday that political tools, including the United Nations, should be used to pressure Assad's government.

He says it's unclear whether "arming people right now will either save lives or lead to the demise of the Assad regime."

Feltman noted Assad's forces were using tanks and artillery in the city of Homs.

While Saudi Arabia and Qatar might be discussing military aid, they aren't talking about delivering tanks. He suggests rebels wouldn't know how to use them, anyhow.