WASHINGTON: A bill has been introduced in US Senate that would bar the administration of President Barack Obama from providing military assistance to militants in Syria.
US senators who introduced the bill include Democrats Tom Udall and Chris Murphy and Republicans Mike Lee and Rand Paul. They said that the Obama administration has provided too little information about what they see as a risky intervention.
The bill, introduced on June 20, would prevent the Department of Defense and US intelligence agencies from using any funds to support military, paramilitary or covert operations in Syria, directly or indirectly.
“The president’s unilateral decision to arm Syrian rebels is incredibly disturbing, considering what little we know about whom we are arming,” Senator Rand Paul said in a statement.
Senator Chris Murphy also argued, “We should be extremely wary of allowing the United States to be drawn into a complicated proxy war that could mire our country for years at a potentially incalculable cost to US taxpayers and America’s reputation at home and abroad.”
On June 14, Obama ordered his administration to provide the militants with weapons, which include assault rifles, shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles.
Many members of the US Congress remain deeply skeptical about White House plans for transferring weapons to foreign-sponsored militants in Syria, while a number of others have been pressing for military aid to the Takfiris for months.
Washington announced its plans to arm the militants in Syria a day after it claimed that the Syrian army had used chemical weapons in its fight against the militants.
Syria strongly rejects such claims and says the extremists have used chemical weapons on several occasions, including an attack in the region of Khan al-Assal in the northwestern province of Aleppo on March 19, where over two dozen people died.
Turmoil has gripped Syria since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.