US: Al-Qaida presence in Syria factors in not arming rebels

February 29, 2012 09:51


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One reason the United States is hesitant to arm the Syrian opposition is that "al-Qaida and other extremists are seeking to take advantage of the situation created" by the unrest in that country, the White House said on Tuesday.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Washington's position "that now is not the time to further militarize the situation in Syria" is related to but not solely dependent on the extremist and al-Qaida presence there.

He declined, however, to address US assessments of how many or which terrorist or extremist groups and individuals are operating in Syria.

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