The Obama administration is ready to arm Syrian rebels, and military planners are proposing a limited no-fly zone up to 25 miles within Syria, allowing rebels to freely train in Jordan and receive arms without Syrian interference from the air.
The drastic change in policy follows the American government’s conclusion that Syrian President Bashar Assad has crossed the “red line” and has been using chemical against Syrians, killing more than 100 people.
The no fly zone would be enforced from Jordanian territory, from where military bases would be used to fly within Jordanian airspace, according to The Wall Street Journal. The type of arms to be delivered to rebels has not been determined, but the CIA will train opposition forces to use them.
An official of the Obama administration confirmed Thursday evening that Assad has used chemical weapons.
“The Assad regime has used chemical weapons– sarin– on a small scale multiple times over the past year,” said Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes
He added that more than 100 people have been killed in the chemical attacks, which have been documented as recently as two weeks ago in Damascus.
Israel, Britain and France previously have said chemical weapons have been used on Syrians, but the President Barack Obama had reasoned that he wanted to confirm without a doubt who has been using them and under what circumstances before responding.
President Obama is determined to deploy U.S. soldiers on Syrian territory, and the decision to arm the rebels was taken over the opposition of those who fear that that many of the weapons will end up in the hands of Al Qaeda and other terrorists, leaving the United States open to charges that is backing one theorist group against another, namely Hezbollah, which has fighting along side Assad’s forces.
Military strategists in the Obama administration have said that a limited no-fly zone would enable rebel forces to train in Jordan and to receive arms without the interference of Syrian aircraft.
A no-fly zone could turn the tide that has gone in Assad’s favor and will help rebel forces maintain control of areas where they have fought off Assad’s forces.
His regime is holding on to power but losing support among the general population, which is suffering from shortages of food, medicine and fuel as well as a collapsing economy. Government employees are not receiving their salaries, according to Asaad Al-Saleh, an Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at the University of Utah.
He wrote in the Yemen Times that the lack of American action has been interpreted by Assad as “green light” “to continue destroying the country.”