Syrian rebels say they have new weapons

June 21, 2013 at 9:19 AM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, June 21 (UPI) -- Rebels battling government forces in the Syrian civil war have new weapons capable of changing the dynamic of the conflict, a rebel commander said.

Salim Idriss, military commander of the Free Syrian Army, told al-Arabiya opposition forces had new weapons on hand to fight government troops. The new weapons "will change the course of the battle on the ground," he said in an interview published Friday.

Al-Arabiya reports the rebel commander said in an earlier interview it would take about six months to bring down the regime of President Bashar Assad if opposition forces were well equipped and trained.

The U.S. government last week said it believes more than 100 people in Syria were killed by chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, launched by pro-government forces.

President Obama has said the use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces was a "red line" that would trigger U.S. reaction.

The Sunday Times in London reported 300 U.S. Marines were deployed to Jordan to help with the transfer of military assistance to anti-government forces. The rebel leader did not indicate the origin of the new weapons.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday the government was discussing a range of options in Syria with the U.S. and French governments. His government has not made a decision, however, on whether to send military assistance.

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