WASHINGTON - The US government is finalizing a plan to increase training and small-arms shipments for Syrian rebels, two U.S. security sources said on Friday, as Syrian government troops gain momentum following the collapse of US-backed peace talks.
The United States would increase assistance and send the shipments to moderate rebel factions mostly based in Jordan, along Syria's southern border, the officials familiar with the plan told Reuters.The additional supplies are likely to be modest and will not include surface-to-air missiles, the officials said, raising questions over the impact in a civil war that has killed an estimated 136,000 people, produced nine million refugees and threatens to destabilize the region.
Rebels have urged the Obama administration to provide advanced weapons including surface-to-air missiles and exert greater military pressure on Russia-backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has intensified bombings of rebel neighborhoods in recent month.
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