Senator Calls On Obama To Arm Syrian Rebels

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) (Credit: Reuters)

The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations committee sent a letter to President Obama on Monday urging him to send arms to moderate Syrian rebels quickly, fearing that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are beginning to turn the tide of the war.

According to Yahoo News, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) — a co-sponsor of a recent bill passed out of his committee calling on the U.S. to arm the rebels — told Obama that “[a]cting now and offering lethal aid directly to our allies in the opposition will shift momentum away from radical Islamist groups, the Assad regime and its militias toward more moderate elements and could help alter the balance of power on the ground at a time when negotiations over a political settlement have stalled.”

Syrian rebels made urgent pleas over the weekend to the U.S. to send arms after losing control of a city near the Lebanese border to Hezbollah militants allied with Assad’s forces. A State Department official said the Obama administration is “taking a closer look” at what the U.S. can do to help the opposition. But experts say the U.S. may be running out of time.

“I think the rebels are in trouble,” Jeffrey White, a former Middle East analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency who is now a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the New York Times. “Speed is of the essence. The regime’s momentum needs to be brought to a halt.”