The Obama administration lent its support Monday to British and French plans to arm Syria's rebels, saying it wouldn't stand in the way of any country seeking to rebalance the fight against an Assad regime supported by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the longer Syria's two-year civil war goes on, the greater the danger of its institutions collapsing and extremists getting their hands on the Arab country's vast chemical weapons arsenal. With some 450,000 Syrians living in neighboring countries as refugees already, he said the conflict is becoming a "global catastrophe."
Kerry said the world needs to change Syrian President Bashar Assad's calculations.
"If he believes he can shoot it out, Syrians and the region have a problem, and the world has a problem," Kerry told reporters after a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr.