US Senate panel backs arming Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON - A US Senate panel voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to send weapons to rebels fighting Syria's government, but it was not clear who would get the arms even if the bill succeeds, as Washington struggles to deal with its response to the conflict.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 15-3 for legislation that would send arms to "vetted" moderate members of the Syrian opposition, the first time US lawmakers have approved such military action in the two-year-old civil war.
The measure will now be considered by the full Senate, where a vocal group of legislators has been pushing for US President Barack Obama to do more to help the rebels waging a war in which at least 80,000 people have died.
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