February 22nd, 2012
12:17 AM ET

U.S. officials mull possibility of arming Syrian rebels

By Adam Levine

The Obama administration seemed to nudge open the door Tuesday for arming Syrian rebels. The hint came as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to attend a Friday meeting in Tunisia to discuss solutions for Syria.

Both White House spokesman Jay Carney and State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland suggested that "additional measures" could be considered if President Bashar al-Assad's regime assault on civilians continues.

Nuland said that the United States is still seeking a "political solution" for al-Assad to step aside. Asked about suggestions that the United States needs to arm the rebels, Nuland said it still isn't the preference.

"We don't believe that it makes sense to contribute now to the further militarization of Syria. What we don't want to see is the spiral of violence increase," Nuland said in a Tuesday press briefing. "That said, if we can't get Assad to yield to the pressure that we are all bringing to bear, we may have to consider additional measures."

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Filed under: Assad • Clinton • Diplomacy • Middle East • Military • Syria
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