Syrian opposition praises US move to arm rebels

Associated Press
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Members of the Syria National Coalition, from left, Farouk Tayfour, Michel Kilo, Salem Idriss, Suheir Atassi, and Burhan Ghalioun wait for the meeting of France's president Francois Hollande and Syria National Coallition president Ahmed al-Jarba at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

BEIRUT (AP) — The main Western-backed Syrian opposition group has welcomed the decision by the Obama administration to send arms to rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad's regime.

The Syrian National Coalition says it's a "move forward."

President Barack Obama opposed providing any lethal assistance to Syria's rebels until last month. The U.S. administration is now moving ahead with sending weapons to vetted rebels after securing the approval of the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

There has been concern in the West that U.S. weapons could end up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked groups.

SNC's statement on Thursday's said it's committed to ensuring weapons reach only those loyal to the Coalition and its affiliated military councils — indicating the SNC will try to prevent U.S. weapons from reaching al-Qaida fighters in Syria.