Both Sides in Syrian Civil War Get Pledges of Help

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

BEIRUT (AP) Syria's civil war is starting to look like a proxy fight between Iran and the West.

Hezbollah's leader is vowing that the Lebanese militant group will keep fighting alongside Syrian government troops after word that the U.S. has agreed to arm the rebels.

U.S. officials say those weapons could include small arms, ammunition, assault rifles and a variety of anti-tank weapons, though they add no final decisions have been made on the details or when it would reach the rebels.

The Obama administration decided to help arm the rebels after determining that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against them. The administration says the government used the nerve agent sarin on two occasions in Aleppo in March and April, killing up to 150 people.

But the international reaction is ranging from flat-out disbelief of the U.S. intelligence assessments to calls for negotiation before more weapons pour into Syria's vicious civil war.

President Vladimir Putin's foreign affairs adviser says the U.S. evidence doesn't "look convincing." He also says if weapons are shipped to the rebels, it would diminish Moscow's interest in pursuing peace negotiations.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the only way to be certain chemical weapons have been used in Syria is to have an on-the-ground investigation. Ban also says he's opposed to the U.S. decision to send weapons to Syria's rebels.

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