US mulls over arming Syria rebels

  • US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday his government is no longer ruling out arming Syrian rebels.

    It is the first time a senior US official has openly discussed the US government’s opposition to providing weapons to rebel forces.

    Last year, President Barack Obama rejected a proposal made by former US state secretary, Hillary Clinton.

    Meanwhile, accusations have emerged this week that Syrian forces have carried out summary executions near the city of Banias.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it is trying to confirm reports that troops had killed at least 50 people, including women and children.

    The UK-based activist group monitors human rights violations on both sides of the conflict via a network of contacts throughout Syria.

    More than 70,000 people have been killed since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

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