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Corker: US will arm Syrian rebels ‘soon’

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On Monday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced legislation that would provide arms to some select opposition groups. Corker said the rebel groups need U.S. support because they’re “not as good at fighting.”

“The moderate opposition groups that we support are not as good at fighting, they’re not as good at delivering humanitarian aid,” Corker said. “We need to change the balance.”

Still, some argue the U.S. should be cautious in its approach because it’s impossible to know how the war will shake out or who will come to power if the Assad regime is deposed. Corker said if the terrorist group al-Nusra were to gain power, “that’s worse than Assad being there.”

“We’ve known for a long time which groups are more moderate, more secular,” he continued. “You never have total control but it’s time for us to begin changing the balance, and I think that’s the right way to do it.”

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Moscow this week seeking to get the U.S. on the same page with Russian president Vladimir Putin on the future of the Assad regime. Russia has been a strong supporter of the Assad regime and has blocked efforts to increase pressure on Damascus or arm opposition forces.

Corker on Tuesday though predicted that if the rebel groups can begin to turn the tide in their favor that “Russia will be far more open to some kind of political result where Assad is removed.”


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