Syrian rebels receive arms, with U.S. coordination

Syrian rebels patrol Khaldiyeh neighborhood, in Homs province. Syrian rebels patrol Khaldiyeh neighborhood, in Homs province. Fadi Zaidan/AP

Syrian rebel forces have begun receiving arms through coordinated efforts by the U.S. government and Persian Gulf nations, The Washington Post reported.

Although the U.S. is neither directly supplying nor funding the arms, which include anti-tank weapons and other items, Washington has worked to help Gulf officials assess the needs and capabilities of the anti-Assad fighters.

This marks a shift in the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, which had previously been limited to sanctions and non-lethal assistance to the rebels.

“We are increasing our nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in the region and beyond in order to have the biggest impact on what we are collectively doing,” a senior State Department official told The Post.

The U.N. estimates that more than 9,000 people have died since the conflict began more than a year ago.

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