US senators want Syrian opposition armed


KABUL – With the Syrian government continuing its deadly crackdown on its citizens, two senior US senators, who were on their way to the Middle East, said yesterday that they were in favour of arming Syrian opposition forces.

The two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, laid out a series of diplomatic, humanitarian and military aid proposals that would put the US squarely behind the effort to topple Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The senators, who are both on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that rebel fighters deserved to be armed and that helping them take on the Syrian government would help Washington to weaken Iran.

Syria relies on Iran for financial and military support, and the governments in Damascus and Tehran have sectarian ties as well: Iran has strongly backed the Syrian Shiite minority and the offshoot Alawite sect that dominates Syria’s ruling class.

“The Iranians and the Russians are providing Bashar Assad with weapons. People that are being massacred deserve to have the ability to defend themselves,” Mr McCain said. – ( New York Times)