Leader of Syrian rebel group hopes for U.S. weapons to be delivered soon


Associated Press

Posted on June 14, 2013 at 9:33 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — The commander of the main Western-backed rebel group fighting in Syria says he hopes U.S. weapons will be in the hands of rebels in the near future.

Gen. Salim Idris told Al-Arabiya TV that the U.S. decision to arm the rebels will boost the spirits of the fighters on the ground.

A spokesman for that rebel group, the Free Syrian Army, says Idris will be meeting with international players in the days ahead, to work out the details of what will be delivered, and how the deliveries will be made. He says they have asked for shoulder-propelled rockets, thermal anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, surface to surface missiles and armored vehicles.

The spokesman is also calling for the establishment of a no-fly zone -- either over all of Syria or over specific areas, to ensure the safety of civilians.

Details still haven't been finalized on the U.S. decision to start arming the rebels. The decision came as the Obama administration said it had conclusive evidence that Bashar Assad's regime has used chemical weapons against rebels.

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171-a-18-(Senator John McCain, proponent, U.S. military action in Syria, in interview)-"requires American leadership"-Senator John McCain says American action on Syria must go well beyond providing machine guns to the rebels. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) ((note cut length)) (14 Jun 2013)

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179-a-14-(Representative Jim Moran, D-Va., during debate on Defense Department spending bill)-"with night-vision sights"-Virginia Congressman Jim Moran says the Syrian regime is getting all the weapons it wants from Russia. (14 Jun 2013)

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GRAPHICSBANK: SYRIA map highlighted with poison warning sign and CHEMICAL WEAPONS lettering, finished graphic (13 Jun 2013)

APPHOTO DCEV101: President Barack Obama arrives in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 14, 2013, where he hosted a Father's Day luncheon. Speaking about Syria, the president said the use of chemical weapons in Syria crosses a "red line," triggering greater U.S involvement in the crisis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (14 Jun 2013)

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APPHOTO BEI107: In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a banner and flash the victory sign during a demonstration in Hass town, Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, June 14, 2013. The Syrian government on Friday dismissed U.S. charges that it used chemical weapons as "full of lies," accusing President Barack Obama of resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm Syrian rebels. The commander of the main rebel umbrella group welcomed the U.S. move. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN) (14 Jun 2013)

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