Syrian rebels retreat from Homs’ stronghold
For the first time in the conflict, troops fired Scud missiles at the neighborhood on Wednesday, Mr. Ibrahim said. Helicopter gunships and also tanks have been used in the fighting.
Meanwhile, Syria’s main opposition group set up a “military bureau” to unite the armed uprising against the Assad regime.
The Syrian National Council said the bureau will “track the armed opposition groups, organize and unify their ranks under one central command.”
A unified armed opposition would likely provide some reassurance to the opposition’s international supporters who have expressed concerns about weapons falling into the hands of extremists.
The Syrian National Council said it would provide the Free Syrian Army, made up of defectors from Syria’s military, with “all the support it needs to completely fulfill its defense responsibilities, including securing necessary protection for civilians.”
The council has urged U.S., European and Arab officials not to prevent individual countries from arming the opposition.
The U.S. and its European allies have not publicly endorsed arming the Syrian opposition, and their sanctions prevent such aid.
However, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has said arming the rebels would be an “excellent idea.”
At a congressional hearing Thursday, Sen. John F. Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said there are “still serious questions” about Syrian opposition groups, especially the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army.
“A debate has started in Congress and in the region about whether - and how - to support the Free Syrian Army,” the Massachusetts Democrats and said. “It is critical that we proceed with extreme caution and with our eyes wide open.
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