On Thursday, after finding conclusive evidence of the Syrian government using chemical weapons against rebels and civilians, President Obama authorized direct U.S. military support to the rebels against Assad’s regime.
Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser of Obama said that U.S. intelligence had found reliable proof that Syrian government forces were using chemical weapons and the nerve agent Sarin had been used multiple times against the opposition.
According to estimates of U.S. intelligence agencies more than a 100 people have died from chemical weapons.
However, Rhodes said that the President had clearly mentioned that there would be no deployment of ground troops, but support would take other forms and possibly in the form of arms and ammunition shipments.
Until now, Washington’s assistance to the rebels in Syria has been limited to non-military aid, while Hezbollah and Iranian fighters are on the ground fighting for the Syrian government. The death toll has surpassed 90,000, while millions have been displaced from their homes. An estimated 1.5 million Syrians have taken refuge in neighboring countries which continue their support of the rebels by funding weapons supplies and other aids.
Until now, U.S., U.K. and France have been reluctant to join the fray with direct military support, though Russia has been selling weapons and aircraft to the Syrian government. Now, with proof of chemical weapon use, which is in contravention of international laws, the balance may tip.
The Obama administration and U.S. intelligence have been cautious about being dragged into a new war, but internal intelligence reports were corroborated by international allies. U.K. had sent their dossier of conclusive evidence of chemical weapons use by Syrian government to Washington much earlier, while France sent their dossier a week ago.