Leader of Syrian rebel group hopes for U.S. weapons to be delivered soon

BEIRUT - The commander of the main Western-backed rebel group fighting in Syria says he hopes U.S. weapons will be in the hands of rebels in the near future.

Gen. Salim Idris told Al-Arabiya TV that the U.S. decision to arm the rebels will boost the spirits of the fighters on the ground.

A spokesman for that rebel group, the Free Syrian Army, says Idris will be meeting with international players in the days ahead, to work out the details of what will be delivered, and how the deliveries will be made. He says they have asked for shoulder-propelled rockets, thermal anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, surface to surface missiles and armored vehicles.

The spokesman is also calling for the establishment of a no-fly zone -- either over all of Syria or over specific areas, to ensure the safety of civilians.

Details still haven't been finalized on the U.S. decision to start arming the rebels. The decision came as the Obama administration said it had conclusive evidence that Bashar Assad's regime has used chemical weapons against rebels.


Syria: US claims are 'full of lies'

Syria says it's a lie.

The government there is dismissing U.S. charges that it has used chemical weapons against rebels. Syria is accusing President Barack Obama of resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm Syrian rebels.

Meanwhile, the commander of the main rebel umbrella group is welcoming the U.S. move, saying it will lift the morale of his fighters.

The U.S. announced yesterday it had conclusive evidence that President Bashar Assad's regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against opposition forces.


Russia disputes US claim on Syria chemical weapons

Russia isn't convinced.

A foreign affairs adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow isn't accepting Washington's claim that Syria's government has used chemical weapons against its opposition. He says the information provided by U.S. officials to their Russian counterparts "didn't look convincing."

The Russian official also warned that providing lethal assistance to Syrian rebels could derail efforts to convene a Syria peace conference.


Hezbollah chief: Group will keep fighting in Syria

 Hezbollah's leader says the Lebanese militant group will keep fighting in Syria "wherever needed."

Sheik Hassan Nasrallah says he has made a "calculated" decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences.

His comments in a speech to supporters in southern Beirut Friday suggest the Iranian-backed group will carry on fighting beyond Syria's central Homs province where his fighters recently helped President Bashar Assad's regime recapture a key town from rebels.

Nasrallah says verbal and other attacks against his militant group "only serve to increase our determination."

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