- Israel, White House say Obama phone call to demand cease-fire was fake
- Nancy Pelosi: Deporting kids un-Christian, sends them ‘into a burning building’
- Islamist militants seize special forces base in Benghazi, Libya
- Feds sue Pennsylvania State Police over women’s fitness tests
- Israel accused of striking U.N. school, killing at least 15
- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
Turkey welcomes Obama admin’s decision to send arms to Syrian rebels
Question of the Day
The Obama administration’s decision to provide military support to the Syrian opposition is a timely one that will help create “a level playing field” in the war against Bashar Assad’s regime, senior Turkish officials said on Friday.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry denounced as “a caravan of lies” the White House’s declaration that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition many times in the past year.
Ben Rhodes, deputy National Security Advisor for strategic communications, said on Thursday that the Obama administration would respond to the use of chemical weapons by expanding its military support to the Syrian rebels, but he did not detail what weapons would be provided.
“Arming the rebels is a good idea because it will create a level playing field for the opposition,” said Volkan Bozkir, chairman of the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee.
“If we are expecting a positive outcome in Geneva, I think it is very important to send the Syrian opposition and the Syrian regime representatives to Geneva even-handed,” he added.
The U.S. and Russia have supported negotiations in Geneva between the Syrian rebels and representatives of the Assad regime. The talks were expected to take place this month, but have been postponed and are now expected in July.
The Assad regime has said that it will participate in the talks, but the rebels have so far refused to attend.
Mr. Atalay said the U.S. military support was important also because of the prevailing point of view that the talks in Geneva may never materialize.
The White House decision to arm the rebels follows a significant military setback for the opposition.
Earlier this month, Syrian troops and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters seized the strategic town of Qusair, situated close to the border with Lebanon and on the road that connects Damascus to Aleppo. The loss of Qusair cut off a key supply route for the rebels.
The U.S. arms shipments are likely to be delivered to the rebels through Turkey or Jordan, or both.
The Assad regime has received military support from Russia and the Iran-backed Hezbollah militants.
Turkey helped make the case that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons during the course of the two-year-old civil war in which more than 90,000 people have been killed.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Boko Haram takes credit for abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls, threatens to sell them
- Al Qaeda core degraded, but 'more aggressive' affiliates still pose threat to U.S.
- Political uncertainty and violence in first Iraqi election since U.S. withdraw
- Egypt judge sentences 683 Islamists to death over Morsi-tied violence
- Doctor's killing in latest Afghanistan attack puts NGOs in crosshairs
TWT Video Picks
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Ticket me Elmo? NYC mulls law for impersonators
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Government OKs Arab-owned company Gulftainer to operate U.S. cargo port
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world