U.s. weighing arming Syrian rebels, recognizing opposition

CNN Security Clearance

By Jamie Crawford with reporting from Jill Dougherty, Elise Labott and Pam Benson

The United States is closely watching how rebel forces operate inside Syria, and what their end objectives might be as the Obama administration weighs whether or not to provide arms to the Syrian opposition.

“Will providing arms to the opposition convince the people who support [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, in many cases because they are afraid of their own existence, or will it simply lead to more fighting — that is the question that we are considering,” Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, said during a panel discussion in Washington on Thursday on the crisis in Syria.

“Arms are not a strategy, arms are a tactic,” Ford said about the deliberation the administration is undertaking on the question, and that a “military solution” is not the best path forward for Syria.

“The president has never taken…

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