U.S. finalizing plan to boost support for Syrian rebels: sources

By Mark Hosenball and Missy Ryan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is finalizing a plan to increase training and small-arms shipments for Syrian rebels, two U.S. security sources said on Friday, as Syrian government troops gain momentum following the collapse of U.S.-backed peace talks. The United States would increase assistance and send the shipments to moderate rebel factions mostly based in Jordan, along Syria’s southern border, the officials familiar with the plan told Reuters. But the United States fears supplies of advanced weapons to pro-Western rebels could be diverted to Islamic militant groups, who could use them to attack allied, Israeli or civilian aircraft, the U.S. officials said, explaining why the surface-to-air missiles won’t be included in the assistance. President Barack Obama has resisted becoming entangled in Syria’s complex, two-year civil war, but has faced criticism for failing to take a tougher stand given the immensity of the humanitarian crisis.

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