A US Senate panel has voted in favor of a bill authorizing the government to provide foreign sponsored militants in Syria with lethal weapons and military training.
On Tuesday, democratic chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Robert Menendez, introduced the bill which authorizes the US government to directly back foreign sponsored militant groups with arms.
The bill, which also authorizes a 250-million dollar fund to help the transition of the Syrian government, was supported by both the Democrats and Republicans with a 15-3 vote.
This is the first time Washington directly supports the foreign sponsored militants.
“Vital national interests are at stake and we cannot watch from the sidelines,” Menendez said.
This comes while Sen. Mark Udall (D., Colo.) warned his fellow senators of the dangers of arming rebel forces whose intentions are unknown, saying “I think we have to ask the question, who are we arming?”
“To tell you the truth, I don’t think we know who we’re arming. The truth is it changes every day,” he added.
The crisis in Syria began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
On Saturday, President Bashar al-Assad said militants from 29 different countries are fighting against the government in Syria. He stated that foreign intervention is the most important factor aggravating the situation in his country.