More and better weaponry is being funneled to Syrian rebels by neighboring Persian Gulf states, which much of the support effort being organized by U.S. officials. The State Department insists that the United States is not paying for or supplying any weapons to the conflict, but admitted to The Washington Post that it is providing "non-lethal assistance" to the opposition forces, in the form of information sharing and coordination between the rebels and other nations in the region.
The decision by other Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar to re-arm the rebel forces, is being seen both as an attempt to eliminate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (and his Iranian allies) as a regional threat and as a not-so-subtle admission that a diplomatic solution is no longer an option. The United States and NATO continue to say that they do not want to get involved militarily, but any effort to beef up the opposition forces clearly shows an intent to end Assad reign through force. The Post even says that the Obama and administration is talking to Syrian Kurds about the “theoretical possibility" of starting a second revolt in the Kurdish area of the country where violence has thus far been sparse. In addition, NATO member Turkey is considering options that would it allow it act outside of NATO's official mission as a way to protect its border with Syria.
It was not long ago that rebel fighters were forced to retreat from their stronghold and were reportedly running out of ammunition, but recent videos out of Syria (like this one) appear to show the opposition carrying and using much more sophisticated and up-to-date weapons and their attacks on government troops are growing more aggressive and deadlier.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.