Syrian Rebels Say They Need Heavy Weaponry, Not Small Arms, From U.S.

Source: Loveday Morris / The Washington Post

BEIRUT — Syrian rebels on Friday described the U.S. decision to provide them with arms as a “late step” and called for shipments to include heavy weaponry capable of tipping the balance of power on the battlefield.

The United States has said it would be “responsive to the needs” of the increasingly desperate rebels, but has not given details of what assistance will include.

Initial consignments are expected to consist of small arms and ammunition, which the rebel Free Syrian Army said on Friday would be largely “meaningless.” The Syrian Opposition Coalition called for “strategic and decisive” support.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons, confirmed by the White House on Thursday, coupled with increasing gains on the battlefield by the Syrian military in recent days, have left the United States and European nations scrambling to reassess their Syria policies.

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