WASHINGTON — U.S. officials are now considering the option of arming Syrian rebels in the current Syrian civil war, especially after the rebels lost a hard-fought battle against Syrian government and Hezbollah fighters last week. Reuters reports that this decision could come as early as this week and was first reported by the Associated Press.
The civil war has now reached its second year and an estimated 80,000 people have been killed. The U.N. asked for intervention to alleviate the suffering of innocent civilians trapped in the crossfire and lack proper medical care, in addition to condemning the recent clashes in the Syria-Lebanon border region.
The fighting around the border city of Qusair saw the official entrance of Hezbollah fighters into the conflict and tipped the scales in favor of the Syrian government regime led by the dictatorial president Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah hinted at a possible intervention earlier this year and upon its entrance into the civil war, lost dozens of fighters in Qusair.
Iran backs the Lebanon-based terrorist organization, which the West has listed as a terrorist organization and supplies the Assad regime with weapons. Hezbollah planned and executed a fatal attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year, which comes as no surprise considering their extremist and anti-Western rhetoric.
Russia backs the Assad regime also, and condemned the European Union’s most recent decision to end an arms embargo on supplying Syrian rebels with weapons. They said they feared an arms race as weapons use the country’s civil war as a proxy war of sorts, echoing the Cold War.
Israel has vowed to stay out of the fight unless provoked, even after returning fire on Syrian positions that attacked them and an air strike the destroyed a Syrian military facility this past May. Its neighbor Jordan has closed a prominent border crossing with Syria and has increased its border presence, while Lebanon is uneasy about the Syrian civil war. At least one Lebanese protester was killed in front of the Iranian embassy by Hezbollah militia.
Turkey has also supplied arms along its border throughout the conflict.