Leahy thinks Obama administration is moving closer toward arming Syrian rebels

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Sunday he thinks the Obama administration is getting closer to providing lethal aid to Syrian rebels.

"The idea of getting weapons in -- if we know the right people to get them, my guess is we will give them to them," Leahy said on NBC News's "Meet The Press."

Rep.. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said he hopes Leahy is right.

"Well, I hope that Sen. Leahy is correct that we are moving closer towards arming the reform-minded, pro-Western rebels. This is something that should have been done many months ago," Cotton said.

The comments come amid an escalating conflict in Syria. Reports have surfaced that Israeli war planes bombed the outskirts of the Syrian capital for the second time Sunday morning. Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Obama administration is rethinking its opposition to arming the rebel forces in Syria, who oppose the government there.

Leahy cautioned that links between the rebels and terror organizations makes arming them complicated.

"Our problem in who to supply is that some of these groups are strongly Islamist, al-Qaeda and others," Leahy said.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan · May 5, 2013