US bill to train and arm Syria rebels clears Senate
The authorization granted to the president to arm and train the rebels will expire Dec. 11.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved President Barack Obama’s plan to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels, following the House’s vote to grant the authority a day earlier.

The 78-22 vote crossed party lines, like the House vote before it, with support from 45 Democrats and 33 Republicans.

The amendment to grant the additional authorization was attached to a larger bill that will prevent another government shutdown by funding the government through Dec. 11. The authorization will likewise expire on that date.

It does not authorize Obama to deploy U.S. forces "into hostilities or into situations where hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances.”

"Here at home I’m pleased that Congress, a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans in both the House and the Senate have now voted to support a key element of our strategy,” Obama said during televised remarks following the vote. "The strong bipartisan support in Congress for this new training effort shows the world that Americans are united in confronting the threat from ISIL, which has slaughtered so many innocent civilians.”

The train and equip mission is part of a larger strategy announced by the American president last week that increases the scope of U.S. airstrikes and seeks to build forces within Iraq and Syria that the U.S. can partner with to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, militants.

The bill will now go to Obama to be signed in to law.

Obama first requested the authority to arm opposition rebels in Syria on June 26 under a $500 million program. The Pentagon intends to train, equip and resupply more than 5,000 Syrian fighters per year at facilities in Saudi Arabia.

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Last Modified: 2014-09-19 09:21:58
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