Sen. Corker urges Obama to give Syrian Opposition groups lethal aid

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to President Barack Obama encouraging him to provide lethal aid to opposition forces in Syria.

"As part of an overall strategy to strengthen moderate opposition forces in Syria, I strongly encourage you to begin providing lethal aid to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition at the earliest possible time," Corker said. "This effort should also include training and capacity building to enhance the moderate opposition's ability to be a reliable security partner, both now and in the future."

The Obama administration is close to its decision on whether or not to provide lethal aid. Corker's recommendation is in line with the Syria Transition Support Act of 2013, S.960, which passed on May 21 on a 15-3 vote.

"Acting now and offering lethal aid directly to our allies in the opposition will shift momentum away from radical Islamist groups, the Assad regime and its militias toward more moderate elements and could help alter the balance of power on the ground at a time when negotiations over a political settlement have stalled...," Corker said. "As you face a critical policy decision on Syria this week, I encourage you to look to the bipartisan consensus created by this committee three weeks ago."

The U.S. policy towards Syria will be discussed in the Center for New American Century's 2013 annual conference on Wednesday in Washington before a final decision is made by the committee this summer.