Daily Video

June 17, 2013

Obama Approves Military Assistance for Syrian Rebels

Watch Obama Policy Shift on Arming Syrian Rebels Triggers Concerns on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

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The Obama administration announced this week that the U.S. will increase military assistance to forces opposing the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad.

Louay Meqdad of the rebel Free Syria Army greeted the decision warmly, saying “We need all the weapons that they can offer for us. The international community, they should — they should use all their powers to help us, because we need help.”

However, members of the international community expressed worry that the move could help increase violence in the region, and that weapons could fall into the hands of militant extremist groups.

“Providing arms to either side wouldn’t address this current situation,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. “There is no such military solution. Only political solution can address this issue sustainably.”

U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes tried to calm fear Friday, saying, “We have relationships today in Syria that we didn’t have six months ago that gives us greater certainty, not just that we can get stuff into the country, but also that we can put it in the right hands, so that it’s not falling into the hands of extremists.”


Warm up questions

1. What do you know about what is happening in Syria?

2. What is the United Nations?

3. What is “foreign policy”? How does the American government make foreign policy decisions?

Discussion questions

1. Do you think that the White House is right to arm the Syrian rebels? Why or why not?

2. Do you think the U.S. and other countries have a responsibility to help stop the civil war in Syria? Why or why not?

3. In the video, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said, “Providing arms to either side wouldn’t address this current situation. There is no such military solution. Only political solution can address this issue sustainably.” What does this mean? Do you agree or disagree? Please explain

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