WASHINGTON, D.C. (Worthy News)– President Barack Obama is seeking $500 million from Congress to train and equip “vetted” Syrian rebels as the White House seeks ways to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in the region.
While the CIA has been running a covert train-and-assistance program for the rebels, it would mark the first open U.S. military involvement in the Syrian civil war, which began three years ago.
In an email statement, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the money would go towards “appropriately vetted elements” in Syria.
“These funds would help defend the Syrian people,” she wrote, “stabilize areas under opposition control, facilitate the provision of essential services, counter terrorist threats, and promote conditions for a negotiated settlement.
The $500 million request is part of a nearly $66 billion overseas operations request the White House sent to Congress Thursday.
However, experts warn about the Obama Administration arming “vetted” groups.
In May, Rebel Unit Division 13, was among the first armed Syrian opposition groups to receive U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles from the Obama Administration.
When Ahmad Al-Sa’oud, the leader of rebel unit Division 13, was asked by an interviewer to explain their stance as an “armed opposition group, on Israel.” He replied, “We are for the return of all Syrian land occupied by Israel.”
Terrorism experts have warned that U.S. arms could fall into the hands of radical jihadists groups that have joined the opposition trying to depose Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“This is precisely the problem we’ve faced in arming the Syrian opposition,” terrorism analyst Patrick Poole told the Washington Free Beacon. “Despite repeated promises that we would only arm ‘vetted rebels’ there’s no confidence that anyone in the U.S. government has any idea who they’re dealing with or what their agenda might be.”